Australia’s head coach Justin Langer has somewhat shielded the decision of team management for leaving out prominent pace gun Josh Hazlewood from the 15-man ICC World Cup 2019 squad. Langer reiterated the lanky fast bowler hasn’t been match-fit.
Meanwhile, Hazlewood is recovering from his longstanding back issue to which he has lost a couple of months in the recent past.
Bad timing for Hazlewood: Langer
Thus, following the snubbing of Hazlewood, Langer reiterated that it is a right call.
“He just hasn’t been playing any cricket. We know he’s a great bowler. He’s a brilliant bowler, but it was just such bad timing for him.” Langer told English media.
During 2015 World Cup, Hazlewood has played a remarkable role alongside Micthell Johnson and Mitchell Starc for the reigning champions Australia to lift their fifth overall record World Cup title after routing arch-rivals New Zealand by seven wickets at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Recently, Hazlewood has expressed his disappointment on missing an opportunity for the second time.
The 28-year-old Hazlewood, who himself is now eyeing Ashes tour, has featured in 44 ODIs to snare 72 wickets for Australia.
Earlier, Jhye Richardson was the part of preliminary World Cup squad, but he has been ruled out after failing to recover from a shoulder injury which he picked in Sharjah while featuring in the ODI series against Pakistan. Thus, young Jhye has made way for Kane Richardson in the coveted squad.
Kane will bolster the Aussie pace attack alongside Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Not enough match fitness for Hazlewood: Langer
The 48-year-old Langer who has overseen Australia’s first practice session in England maintained Hazlewood has managed to feature in six white-ball games in last one and a half year which includes Twenty20 cricket.
Langer maintained Hazlewood has returned from his second back stress fracture.
“He’s come off a second stress fracture in his back and while he’s just starting to get up and running in the nets now – I think he’s played six white ball games in the last 18 months – that’s T20 and one-day cricket,” Langer inferred.
Meanwhile, the entire focus is on Steven Smith and David Warner. The duo has rejoined the national team after a prolonged gap of 12 months due to the ball-tampering scandal. The Kangaroos will be lead by Aaron Finch in the ODI showpiece.
Overall, they are in good stead. The Kangaroos have won eight consecutive matches since five-match ODI series against India in March, this year.
The visitors will open their World Cup assignment against Afghanistan on June 1st in Bristol.