Aussies face anxious wait ahead of World Cup
FAST bowler Josh Hazlewood admits having three injured players in Australia's squad has made him a little nervous ahead of the World Cup opener against England at the MCG on Saturday.
Captain Michael Clarke (hamstring), and all-rounders Shane Watson (hamstring) and James Faulkner (side strain) have been working around the clock to prove their fitness.
The Australians will take on the UAE in their final warm-up match in Melbourne today, with Clarke and Watson set to play after getting through training yesterday.
Faulkner is slightly behind those two in his recovery after sustaining his injury in the tri-series final against England in Perth 11 days ago.
Hazlewood admitted to reporters it was "a little bit" nerve-racking having three teammates nursing injuries.
"But those guys are on track and Pup (Clarke) is playing (today), and Watson played the other day (in the warm-up match against India on Sunday)," he added. "We're looking in good shape."
Clarke, on track to play in game two of the tournament against Bangladesh at the Gabba on February 21, tested out his troubled hamstring with sprinting drills, running between the wickets, fielding drills and throwing.
He also took plenty of high balls, batted in the nets and also bowled in a gruelling two-and-a-half-hour session.
Watson and Faulkner also did plenty of running, Watson bowling well in the nets and Faulkner also having a bat.
Australia's team physiotherapist, Alex Kountouris, said all three were progressing well.
Hazlewood said it was imperative all-rounder Faulkner could prove his fitness, with the Tasmanian a guaranteed match-winner.
"He's been in good form the past couple of years and what he does with bat and ball is quite special," Hazlewood said.
"To have him batting and bowling in those later overs is quite important."
One other injury concern was that of Glenn Maxwell, who had back soreness while batting against India on Sunday, but went on to smash 122 from just 57 balls.
The UAE, the No.14-ranked ODI team, will appear at this year's World Cup thanks in some part to veteran batsman Khurram Khan who became the oldest player to score a one-day international hundred in November last year.
Khan, who works as a flight attendant for Emirates Airlines when he isn't playing cricket for the UAE, was 43 years and 162 days when he brought up the milestone against Afghanistan.
He has played a record 10 ODIs for his country, making 427 runs at an average of 53.37.