Josh Hazlewood undisturbed by uncertainty surrounding leadership role
Josh Hazlewood has recovered from a stress fracture in his back, but isn't in Australia's World Cup plans. © AFP

Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood was appointed vice-captain of the side in September ahead of the Test series in the UAE against Pakistan. Hazlewood, along with Mitchell Marsh, was named the co-deputy to Aaron Finch and Tim Paine and remained the vice-captain before a back stress fracture ruled him out before the India ODIs and Pat Cummins took over.

Steve Smith and David Warner’s bans will be lifted on March 29 but the duo have been refrained from a leadership role in any capacity. Whether Hazlewood is re-appointed for the post once the fast bowler regains complete fitness remains to be seen but given the limited approach he’s had in that role, it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“Not really going forward, to be honest. I’m not sure how it will all work out, there’s obviously been a few guys have a go of the vice-captaincy and help out as best they can at different stages,” Hazlewood told ESPNcricinfo. “I really enjoyed my time doing it for a couple of one-dayers and four Tests. I didn’t see my role change too much from previous years, to be honest.

“[Paine] probably came to me a bit more than in the past, but I’ve always voiced my opinion when we’re out there in the field or in team meetings and things, so I didn’t go out of my way too much to add to that. If I saw something, I’d mention it and go from there. I’m not sure how the roles will go moving forward. They obviously pick the team and then we’ll work it out from there. Interesting times.”

During the Sydney Test, Australia captain Paine and bowling coach seemed to have come up with contrary claims. As India pummelled Australia to score 622 for 7 decl, Saker revealed that Paine and bowlers were not on the same page, while the Australia captain differed in his opinion. Paine admitted that although they did get some plans wrong, there was nothing as worrying as a disagreement.

“It’s just part of learning, I guess,” Hazlewood said. “We’ve got quite an inexperienced leadership group to a degree and the plans were a bit mixed and we weren’t all in on the one plan and things got a little bit confused. On a wicket like that, you had to be 100 percent on the plan I guess and have everyone buy into that.

“There was a little bit of confusion, but I don’t think it played too much of a role, to be honest. It was probably blown up a little bit too much – those little things happen all the time, and different people have different opinions of what’s going to work on a different wicket. We could have bowled a bit better, there’s no doubt about that, but it wasn’t as big a thing as it was made out I think.”