Langer spills on World Cup snub
AUSTRALIA coach Justin Langer has defended the decision to snub Josh Hazlewood for the Cricket World Cup, insisting he's not played enough recent white ball cricket to justify selection.
Hazlewood expressed his frustration last week at being overlooked for the 15-man squad after Kane Richardson was preferred by selectors following the shoulder injury that forced Jhye Richardson out of the squad.
The right-arm quick was the world's top-ranked ODI bowler in 2017 and part of Australia's 2015 World Cup triumph.
However, he has been recovering from a back injury sustained last January and not played a 50-over match for Australia since November against South Africa in Hobart.
Hazlewood is certain to feature in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston on August 1 and will play for the A team in the build up to series in July, but Langer denied leaving him out of the World Cup had anything to do with trying to keep him fresh.
"He just hasn't been playing any cricket," Langer said.
"He's come off a second stress fracture in his back and while he's just starting to get up and running in the nets now - I think he's played six white ball games in the last 18 months - that's T20 and one-day cricket.
"We know he's a great bowler. He's a brilliant bowler, but it was just such bad timing for him."
Langer said he had no problem with Hazlewood so vocally expressing his disappointment last week and said he understood his frustration.
"He's a terrific bloke, he's been vice captain of the team," he said. "He's a brilliant bowler ... his numbers over the last four years have been good. But over the last 18 months, he just hasn't played enough (one-day) cricket.
"I'm sure he's disappointed. There's a few guys who are disappointed not to be in the squad.
"Hopefully through the Australia A series, he can start playing cricket again and then when he does that, we can't wait to welcome him back."
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