ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Australia coach Justin Langer defends decision to leave out Josh Hazlewood after pacer expresses disappointment

Australia coach Justin Langer has defended the decision to leave Josh Hazlewood out of the World Cup squad, saying the paceman lacked match fitness as he recovers from a back injury.

Reuters, May 20, 2019 11:41:59 IST

Melbourne: Australia coach Justin Langer has defended the decision to leave Josh Hazlewood out of the World Cup squad, saying the paceman lacked match fitness as he recovers from a back injury.

Hazlewood, who partnered left-arm quicks Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson during Australia’s 2015 World Cup triumph, expressed his frustration last week at first missing out on a place in the initial squad for England and then being overlooked as Jhye Richardson’s replacement.

Justin Langer said that Josh Hazlewood simply wasn't match-ready as far as white-ball cricket is concerned. Reuters

Justin Langer said that Josh Hazlewood simply wasn't match-ready as far as white-ball cricket is concerned. Reuters

Richardson, ruled out with a shoulder injury, was replaced by namesake Kane Richardson, with Starc, Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter-Nile the other pace bowlers picked.

“He just hasn’t been playing any cricket,” Langer said in England of the 28-year-old Hazlewood, who has claimed 72 wickets in 44 ODI matches.

“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.

“We know he’s a great bowler. He’s a brilliant bowler, but it was just such bad timing for him.”

World champions Australia head into the tournament on the back of an eight-match winning streak, including series wins away to Pakistan and India.

Much of the focus on Aaron Finch’s team will follow former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, who are back in the squad after serving 12-month bans for ball-tampering.

Both played key roles in the 2015 tournament and have made plenty of runs in the lead-up to England, with Warner top scoring in the Indian Premier League and Smith smashing two half-centuries off an under-strength New Zealand in an unofficial warm-up series in Brisbane.

Langer said both players were champing at the bit.

“It’s been hilarious for me, because whether on the ANZAC Cove or in the lunch room or we’re on the bus playing cards, (Smith’s) just shadow batting the whole time,” he said.

“He loves batting — he’s shadow batting on the sand, he’s shadow batting in the shower — I’m not joking.

“They’ve (Smith and Warner) had 12 months to have a good think about a mistake they and the team made. I’m sure they’ll be better people for that.”

Australia play their World Cup opener against Pakistan in Bristol on 1 June. The tournament starts on 30 May.

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Updated Date: May 20, 2019 11:41:59 IST


World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
Australia 5 4 1 0 8
New Zealand 4 3 0 1 7
India 4 3 0 1 7
England 4 3 1 0 6
Sri Lanka 5 1 2 2 4
West Indies 4 1 2 1 3
South Africa 5 1 3 1 3
Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 3
Pakistan 5 1 3 1 3
Afghanistan 4 0 4 0 0





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
6 Pakistan 4107 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254