Hazlewood breaks silence over World Cup snub
BITTERLY disappointed to be twice overlooked for the World Cup, Josh Hazlewood hopes selectors keep him in mind if Australia need a mid-tournament replacement.
Excluding Hazlewood, the world's top-ranked ODI bowler in 2017 and part of Australia's 2015 World Cup triumph, from the 15-man squad was arguably the boldest and most contentious call that selectors made last month.
Trevor Hohns' panel doubled down on that snub last week, calling up Kane Richardson rather than Hazlewood when Jhye Richardson (dislocated shoulder) was forced to withdraw from the tournament in England, which starts on May 30.
Selectors felt Hazlewood, recovering from the back injury he suffered in January, wouldn't have enough games under his belt and should instead focus on being cherry ripe for the Ashes series, which starts on August 1.
The right-armer proved his fitness by coming off his long run last week, troubling captain Aaron Finch and other teammates in the nets during a training camp in Brisbane, and was confident he could produce his best at the World Cup.
"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.
"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."
Hazlewood acknowledged international cricket would be a step up compared to practice but felt he was "pretty close to 90-95 per cent" at Allan Border Field last week.
The vice-captain has been included in an Australia A squad that will tour England prior to the Ashes, with the first of their five 50-over games starting on June 20.
It means Hazlewood will be acclimatised for the final five weeks of the World Cup - and ready to answer selectors' call should anything happen to one of the incumbent quicks.
"I guess if someone went down halfway through the tournament then my chances would be a bit better (compared to last week)," Hazlewood said. "You never know."
Finch praised Hazlewood's rhythm and pace in the nets last Friday but wasn't sure whether the 28-year-old would be on standby for the World Cup.
"It's a good question. I don't have an answer," Finch said.
Hazlewood is giving little thought to such a possibility, preferring to pour all all his energy into preparation for the five-Test series in England.
"It'll 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," he said.
"And 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."
Finch's squad spent the past few days visiting WWI sites in Gallipoli. They will start training in England later this week as they prepare for a June 1 World Cup opener against Afghanistan.
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