ICC World Cup: Starc, Hazlewood's return to further boost Australia
Australia have picked up the momentum in ODIs with successive series wins. After beating India 3-2, Australia have taken a 3-0 lead in the five-match series against Pakistan. With the ICC World Cup starting from May 30 onwards, they have hit the form at the right time. The squad will further get a boost by the likely return of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Hazlewood has been facing injury concerns. He has been sidelined since January with a back problem. On the other hand, Starc pulled out of Australia's ODI and T20I tour of India last month with a 'substantial' muscle tear. They have been bowling in the nets and this is a crucial moment for Aussies, who recently saw Jhye Richardson returning home with a dislocated shoulder.
"When the squad gets announced I'll probably be 65-70% and I've still got a good four or five weeks from that date to get ready to play one-day cricket," Hazlewood said regarding his progression from here on.
Starc is comparatively in a better shape than Hazlewood at the moment. "He looks fine, he started bowling as well this week. He's coming off not as big a break as me so won't take him long to get up and running. He seems to be heading in the right direction," said Hazlewood. Starc had picked up an injury last month against Sri Lanka.
Australia's World Cup squad is expected to be announced by April 23. Starc was their best player in the 2015 edition. Hazlewood will be expecting to find his name on the team sheet. The two alongside the in-form Pat Cummins could form the heart of Australia's attack. Jason Behrendorff is there as well. The selectors will have to take a call regarding Richardson.
In 44 ODI matches, Hazlewood has taken 72 scalps. He last played an ODI in November 2018 against South Africa. Starc has 145 wickets from 75 ODI matches. He also featured against South Africa, which was his last outing in ODIs.