Hazlewood suffered a back injury in January this year © Getty
Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood expressed his disappointment after being ignored twice for selection to the 2019 World Cup squad. Cricket Australia took a brave call of leaving out the fast bowler in their 15-man preliminary squad, and then didn’t consider him when they needed to replace injured Jhye Richardson – going ahead with Kane Richardson to fill the void instead.
Cricket Australia chose to be cautious over drafting Hazlewood back into the national side after he suffered a back injury in January this year. With an away Ashes series coming up right after the World Cup, they saw it fit to keep him fresh for that instead of playing him in the multi-team event without him having enough matches under his belt since his recovery.
Hazlewood though, said he was bitterly disappointed to be denied the chance to play in his second World Cup, and that it’ll hit him a bit more once the tournament begins and he ends up watching it on the Television.
“It was obviously bitterly disappointing,” Hazlewood told AAP. “It only comes around every four years. I was lucky enough to experience it on home soil last time. It’ll probably hit me a bit once the tournament starts and you’re watching on TV.
Despite his feeling, Hazlewood also understood how four months of inactivity due to injury cost him a place at the tournament, and fairly so. “It’s pretty hard. It’s not just a normal ODI series, it’s a World Cup. Not playing cricket for four months went against me. I can see their side of things.”
There’s still a silver lining in this situation, as far as the 28-year-old is concerned. He hasn’t played an ODI since November, but has now been included in the Australia A squad that will tour England before the Ashes – with the first 50-over game on June 20. That means he will be fit and available in the same country should Australia need a replacement player during the second half of the World Cup.
“I guess if someone went down halfway through the tournament then my chances would be a bit better (compared to last week). You never know,” Hazlewood said.
When quizzed about the chances of that happening, Australia captain Aaron Finch remained non-committal. Even if that doesn’t materialise, Hazlewood will have the advantage of being acclimatized to England weather and condition well ahead of the Ashes, which begins from August 1.
“It will obviously mean I have a few more four-day games with the Dukes ball in England, so that’s going to be fantastic for me. And [it will] probably put me a step ahead of a few other guys who are only going to get the one red-ball game before the Ashes,” Hazlewood said.