Josh Hazlewood has emerged as Australia's in-form bowler ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup, gleaning insight and an Indian Premier League title after his unexpected call-up.
Hazlewood delivered a timely reminder of his white-ball credentials in the second phase of the IPL, snaring 11 wickets at 26.63 to help Chennai Super Kings secure their fourth title.
The metronomic paceman, who initially opted out of the IPL in April, picked the brain of MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis and other star teammates at his franchise.
The tournament in the UAE also served as ideal acclimatisation for the pitches, dew and sapping heat that Australia will confront during their World Cup campaign, which begins against South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night (AEDT).
"It's been perfect (preparation)," Hazlewood said of his productive IPL stint.
"Just getting a run of games in T20 cricket, leading up to a World Cup.
"(Adapting to) the conditions ... it's quite hot.
"It was a very experienced team and great to be around in T20, which I haven't played a lot of.
"To learn a lot on the run (was good), it was pretty exciting the other night to win the final."
Australia face New Zealand in their first warm-up match for the tournament on Tuesday morning (AEDT), with coach Justin Langer mulling several tough selection calls.
Hazlewood was part of Australia's T20 World Cup squad in 2016 then waited almost four and a half years for another chance to represent his country in the format.
The right-armer was also memorably overlooked for the 2019 ODI World Cup, when selectors told him to focus on the Ashes after a stint on the sidelines.
But the 30-year-old, who also excelled on Australia's T20 tour of Bangladesh in August, has made a compelling case to be picked.
"I feel pretty confident in my role now. It's a pretty similar role, whether it's for Chennai or Australia," Hazlewood said.
"A couple (of overs) up front then a couple at the end.
"Every game is different in the T20 format and you learn a lot from each game ... you can never dominate T20 cricket as a bowler."
Hazlewood's recent judgement has been impeccable, both on and off the park, after deciding to bypass the first phase of the IPL.
The fast bowler avoided the IPL shutdown, triggered by India's COVID-19 crisis, and teammates' struggles to get home then jumped at the chance to return to the Super Kings.
Australian Associated Press