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World Cup concerns over Starc, Hazlewood

Australia have named an unchanged 15-man squad for this month's ODI series against Pakistan, with Mitchell Starc still unavailable because of injury.

World Cup concerns over Starc, Hazlewood

Australia have named an unchanged 15-man squad for this month's ODI series against Pakistan, with Mitchell Starc still unavailable because of injury.

MITCHELL STARC of Australia preapres to bowl during day one of the Fifth Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia.
MITCHELL STARC of Australia preapres to bowl during day one of the Fifth Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at SCG in Sydney, Australia. Picture:Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Australia are upbeat Mitchell Starc will be fit for a World Cup training camp in May but Josh Hazlewood's hopes of taking part in the 50-over showpiece are fading fast.

Starc's bid to return this month from a pectoral strain failed when he resumed bowling and suffered what chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns termed a "slight recurrence".


Hohns and coach Justin Langer were initially optimistic Starc, who first sustained the injury while regaining form in early February against Sri Lanka, would take part in Australia's ODI series against Pakistan.

But selectors have named an unchanged 15-man squad for the five-match series from March 22 in the UAE, also leaving Steve Smith and David Warner on the sidelines as fully expected.

Australia's plans for their World Cup defence are starting to take shape, with Hohns suggesting there are still up to 19 names going around in his head.

Hohns is never one to make guarantees but Smith and Warner appear certain to be included in Australia's 15-man World Cup squad that must be submitted by April 23.

Smith and Warner have both recovered from elbow surgery and are set to take part in the Indian Premier League.

Injury clouds hovering over Starc and Hazlewood, who suffered a back injury during this year's SCG Test, are however yet to clear.

"There's no indication just yet as to when Josh will be returning," Hohns said.

"Definitely (it is a concern). There's no doubt."

Hohns conceded Starc's lack of match fitness was also worrying.

"It's a bit unfortunate; ideally we would have liked him in the UAE," Hohns said of the reigning World Cup player of the tournament.

"Because the core of the team needs to get used to playing together.

"But of course, a bowler of his quality - the practice games hopefully should be enough for him.

"While frustrating for all involved, our focus is to have Mitch ready for the World Cup."

Australia will play a couple of warm-up games against New Zealand during their World Cup training camp in Brisbane, where Starc hopes to return.

The news is better for Kane Richardson, sent home from India because of a minor side strain but named in the touring party for the UAE.

Aaron Finch's team, in India for a five-match ODI series, will travel next week from Delhi to Dubai.

"We've started to play not too badly. We're quite pleased with the way things are going. There wasn't too many mooted changes at all," Hohns said.

"I won't nominate anyone at the moment but there's still probably 18 or 19 names going around in my head (in contention for the World Cup).

"We've got the other couple of boys that everyone knows will be available again and there's still others back home on the sidelines that could consider themselves a chance."

Australia's 15-man ODI squad:

Aaron Finch (capt), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.

AAP


AAP




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