Forgotten NSW speedster Hazlewood keen to fast-track national call-up
Sydney: Formerly known as Australia`s teenage sensation, Josh Hazlewood is about to make his comeback - at the ripe old age of 20.
Hazlewood was creating a stir well before 18-year-old Pat Cummins burst into Australian colours in South Africa this month.
Yet after selection in the Test touring party to India last year, it all went pear-shaped for the tall Tamworth quick with talent to burn.
Thanks to a long-term back injury, it has been 610 days since Hazlewood``s last first-class appearance for New South Wales, a period that will finally come to an end when the Blues take on Victoria at the SCG from today.
"It`s been a while … since February last year," Hazlewood said.
He added: " I haven`t played a longer format than a one-dayer so far. I`m a bit nervous, I guess, but just looking to get through it and take it from here. My back`s feeling pretty good. I bowled quite a few overs in India while we were over there for the Champions League and quite a few overs since then. It will be good to have a bowl when everyone`s not trying to hit you for six every ball.
Despite his prolonged absence, Hazlewood remains a focal, if slightly forgotten, member of the fab four of emerging Australian fast bowlers - the others are James Pattinson, 21, and fellow Blues pacemen Cummins and Mitchell Starc, 21 - who many believe will form the Test attack, at least in part.
Of that group he was the first to be chosen for Australia - making his single one-day international outing against England in June last year before earning Test squad selection at 19.
Hazlewood does not see himself as having to make up too much lost ground.
A back injury is to young pace bowlers what pit stops are to racing car drivers, and he hopes his time in pit lane is now behind him.
" I don``t think [I`m playing] catch-up,```` he said.