The Ashes contest between England and Australia is the ultimate Test series due to the history and rivalry between the two teams. England is on a high after winning the World Cup for the first time and they will be aiming to sign their historic summer on a high with a win in the five-match series, which is also the start of the World Test Championship. Australia, on the other hand, has not won a series in England since 2001 and they will be smarting from the semi-final loss in the 2019 World Cup against the hosts. With such a storied history between the two sides, sparks are bound to fly and Josh Hazlewood has fired the first salvo when he questioned Jason Roy's Test credentials.
Roy was a key member in the England top order during their victorious 2019 World Cup as he smashed four fifties and a century to help England lift the cup. On his Test debut against Ireland, he hit 72 in the second innings but he averages just over 38 in first-class cricket. Hazlewood said Roy will be tested as opening in England is a tough proposition. "We'll see how Roy goes in Test cricket. He has only played one Test match and it's a lot different opening the batting in a Test than a one-day game, that's for sure. In England, opening is probably the toughest place to bat, which probably made Alastair Cook's record all the better. To play attacking cricket in those conditions is tough," Hazlewood said.
Hazlewood, though, was concerned about the workload the likes of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc will be subject to after a gruelling World Cup combined with five Tests in 45 days. "I think it would be a very good effort to play all five, especially with my last two years, I've missed a few Tests with the injury. I'd be really happy with four (Tests), three or four even. It's such a tight schedule. Five would be great if we got away with a couple of cheap innings, bowling 30 (overs) for the Test or something like that, it'd be great. You might get away with a Test with 30 overs under your belt which is fine. It's when it goes up to 45 to 50 that you start to reassess things and look at different options," Hazlewood said.
Australia has picked six pacers in the side for the Ashes contest. Apart from Hazlewood, there is Cummins, Starc, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle and back-up in Michael Neser and Hazlewood said it is a good problem to have. "We all know each other, we train a lot with each other whether it's Pattinson, Siddle or Michael Neser. We know each other pretty well and I guess the only way to get to know them more is by playing with them. I've played with 'Patto' a fair bit now over the years so I know his ins and outs and what makes him tick on the field. Peter Siddle the same. I don't think it matters who is going to play, we all know each other really well," Hazlewood said.