Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hussey, Hauritz out of World Cup

Australia's World Cup campaign has been dealt a blow even before the squad leaves Australia, with Michael Hussey and Nathan Hauritz ruled out due to injuries. Callum Ferguson and Jason Krejza will replace the pair in the 15-man squad, which flies out to India on Wednesday to defend the title under Ricky Ponting.
And if losing a key middle-order batsman and the first-choice spinner was not bad enough, Australia could not even opt for their second choices in each discipline, with Shaun Marsh and Xavier Doherty not considered due to injuries of their own. It has meant a rapid promotion for the aggressive offspinner Krejza, who made his ODI debut on Sunday, while the inclusion of Ferguson was less of a surprise given his solid performances at international level over the past couple of years.
Hussey in particular will be a massive loss, as he is the only Australian in the top ten of the ICC's one-day batting rankings, and he is a renowned finisher who can rescue the side after top-order trouble. However, the selectors decided they could not risk Hussey, who suffered a serious hamstring injury during the one-day series against England that resulted in surgery, and he conceded he would be unlikely to be fit for the first couple of World Cup matches.
Hauritz seemed a more likely candidate to make the cut, after he dislocated his shoulder while fielding during the one-day game in Hobart on January 21 and had surgery in a bid to be fit for the World Cup. He bowled in the nets on Monday and sent down a dozen deliveries at what he called 60 to 70%, but it was not enough to convince the selectors that he was worth the risk in such a big tournament.
"The National Selection Panel has determined that the best strategy to ensure a successful campaign is for Australia to enter the tournament with a fully fit squad of fifteen from the first game," the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said. "We've applied to the ICC Technical Committee for Callum Ferguson to replace Mike Hussey in the squad.
"Callum has an excellent record in one-day international cricket and played well in the one-day game against England in Sydney recently. We think he'll play well in sub-continental conditions. We've also applied to the ICC Technical Committee for Jason Krejza to replace Nathan Hauritz in the squad. Jason toured India with the Australian Test team in 2008 and understands those conditions. We're certain he'll be a key member of our squad."
Krejza picked up 2 for 53 in his debut one-day international on Sunday and, although he dragged the ball short too often and threatened to leak big runs, he will enjoy the prospect of returning to India, where he collected 12 wickets on his Test debut in 2008. He was only called up in Perth due to Doherty's back problem, which also ruled him out of replacing Hauritz, while Marsh's hamstring strain meant Ferguson got the nod.
However, there was some good news for the Australians, with Ponting and Steven Smith both deemed fit enough to fly to India, while Brad Haddin was also cleared after hurting his knee during the final ODI against England. Smith will share the spin duties with Krejza, while nothing was going to keep Ponting from his fifth World Cup.
"Ricky Ponting is going well in his rehabilitation following his finger fracture," the team physio Alex Kountouris said. "He is batting regularly and is expected to transition into unrestricted training soon after the team arrives in India.
"Brad Haddin was struck on the knee whilst batting during the seventh ODI against England. During the batting innings the knee became swollen. We expect this to resolve soon after we arrive in India. Steve Smith is making very good progress from the groin injury he sustained in the sixth ODI against England."
The Australians fly out on Wednesday and play their first of two warm-up matches on Sunday, against India in Bangalore. Their opening match of the tournament proper is against Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad on February 21.
Squad Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Cameron White, Callum Ferguson, David Hussey, Tim Paine, Steven Smith, John Hastings, Mitchell Johnson, Jason Krejza, Brett Lee, Doug Bollinger, Shaun Tait.

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