Tue, 30 May 2023

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 29 (ANI): Australia pacer and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) star Josh Hazlewood on Wednesday opened up on his on-field tussles with India batter Cheteshwar Pujara, saying that getting his wicket is a "bigger thrill" for bowlers.

Hazlewood spoke about his tussle with Pujara, comparisons to Australian pace great Glenn McGrath and much more on the RCB Podcast ahead of IPL 2023, which starts from March 31 onwards.

"It is a bigger thrill for the bowlers (to dismiss Pujara). I think when you do end up getting his wicket, it means you have earned it.""It means you have put in a lot of hard work. Whether it is the fifth ball he (Pujara) faces... you have already bowled to him in the previous Test matches, you have earned that respect and you have earned that wicket.""He is someone I have had some great tussles over the years, and, in particular, in Australia. He is someone Australians love to hate but he is a fantastic player and I guess that is part of Test cricket. When you do get him out, you have earned it," Hazlewood concluded his point.

Pujara loves playing against Australia and has numbers to back it up. In 24 Tests against Aussies, he has scored 2,033 runs at an average of 50.82, with five centuries and 11 fifties in 43 innings. His best score against the side is 204. The batter has a great record in Australian territory, having scored 993 runs in 11 matches and 21 innings at an average of 47.28, with three centuries and five fifties. His best score against Australia in their territory is 193.

On comparisons with McGrath, Hazlewood said that he was compared to the pace great on pretty much every day ever since he started playing with New South Wales (NSW).

"Really every day I would say (on comparison with McGrath). Since I started playing for New South Wales, probably before that. Just playing in the country with him, being from a country area as well. You know we are very similar in the way we go out about our business of bowling and come from similar backgrounds. So yeah, there is plenty of things alike since I have been 15-16 years old."McGrath is a legend for Australia, having taken 949 wickets in 376 international matches. His best bowling figures are 8/24. He also has 36 five-wicket hauls to his name. He is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in international cricket, behind India's Anil Kumble (956), England's James Anderson (972), Australia's Shane Warne (1,001) and Sri Lanka's Mutthiah Muralitharan (1,347). He is the second most successful pacer of all time in the sport.

Hazlewood's IPL 2023 participation is in doubt due to Achilles' injury. Last season for RCB, he took 20 wickets in 12 matches at an economy rate of 8.10 with the best figures of 4/25.

RCB will start their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season with a match against Mumbai Indians (MI) at their home arena, M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru on April 2.

Last year, RCB qualified for playoffs and lost to Rajasthan Royals in qualifier 2 by seven wickets.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Squad strength: 25 players (overseas 8)Players bought during IPL 2023 auction - Reece Topley (INR 1.9 crore), Himanshu Sharma (INR 20 lakh), Will Jacks (INR 3.2 crore), Manoj Bhandage (INR 20 lakh), Rajan Kumar (INR 70 lakh), Avinash Singh (INR 60 lakh).

Players retained - Faf du Plessis (c), Virat Kohli, Suyash Prabhudessai, Rajat Patidar, Dinesh Karthik, Anuj Rawat, Finn Allen, Glenn Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, David Willey, Karn Sharma, Mahipal Lomror, Mohammed Siraj, Josh Hazlewood, Siddarth Kaul, Akash Deep. (ANI)

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