'Virat Kohli is always out there first and leaves last': AUS star draws inspiration from ex-IND captain before WTC final

By, New Delhi
May 31, 2023 04:46 PM IST

The RCB star was all praise for former Indian skipper Virat Kohli ahead of the ICC World Test Championship final between India and Australia.

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood opted to leave Indian Premier League (IPL) early to boost his chances of featuring in the upcoming ICC World Test Championship final against Rohit Sharma's Team India. The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) superstar played only three matches for the Virat Kohli-starrer side in the 16th edition of the cash-rich league. Hazlewood-less RCB capped off a forgetful season as Faf du Plessis and Co. failed to seal a berth in the IPL 2023 playoffs.

Virat Kohli at a practice session ahead of the World Test Championship final cricket match between India and Australia, in UK(PTI)
Virat Kohli at a practice session ahead of the World Test Championship final cricket match between India and Australia, in UK(PTI)

With all roads leading to the Oval, a recovering Hazlewood is included in Australia's squad for the showdown clash of the World Test Championship against India. The RCB pacer is one of the four pacers in Australia's squad for the summit clash. The star pacer is pitted against the likes of skipper Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland. If selectors end up showing faith in Hazlewood, the star pacer will leave no stone unturned to bag the jackpot wicket of former India skipper Kohli. Run-machine Kohli has regained top form in the lead-up to the final of the World Test Championship.

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‘Kohli drags everyone along with his high-level intensity’

In a conversation with the ICC ahead of the blockbuster final, Australia's Hazlewood lauded Kohli for his strong work ethic which sets him apart from his contemporaries. "I think it’s probably how hard he works (that stands out). His fitness first of all - and then his skill work and batting and fielding in particular. He is always out there (training) first and leaves last … and the intensity he trains at all the time is at such a high level it drags everyone else along for the ride. That can leak on to the other players and improve them as well,” Hazlewood said.

Hazlewood will be up against his former RCB teammates Kohli and Mohammed Siraj in the World Test Championship final. While Hazlewood hardly made an impact in the IPL 2023, India pacer Siraj bagged the most wickets for Kohli-starrer RCB this season. "I was a bit late getting there (to RCB this year), but before then he was on fire. He is up there at the top of the wickets every time, and the economy rate was probably the thing as bowling at Chinnaswamy (RCB’s home ground) is impossible sometimes and he was going at six or six-and-a-half an over. His control was great and he is bowling well," Hazlewood added.

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