Ricky Ponting believes Australia’s big three pacers – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood – should aim to play every match at both the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 and the Ashes.
All three bowlers have had condensed workloads heading into the CWC. Hazlewood has not played since the home series against India and Starc last played in the Tests against Sri Lanka that followed – both have since been recovering from injuries. And while Cummins was intricate in the limited-overs series in India and the UAE, he played in just one of the five ODIs against Pakistan.
Australia’s selectors are set to announce the World Cup squad on 15 April, and for all the talk of resting some of the pacers ahead of a crucial Ashes series, Ponting believes their freshness should be capitalized on at the World Cup.
“They Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins have all had reasonable lay-offs now,” Ponting, who will join the set-up as an assistant coach for the World Cup, told cricket.com.au. “I know some of them got through the summer and had injuries with Josh and Stacy of late, but that should mean they go into a World Cup very fresh.
“None of those guys will be in the IPL either, so they need to just manage [themselves] really well, with the thought of playing every game through the World Cup and the Ashes. I’m sure all those bowlers want to do that. It’s up to them to get themselves fit enough and strong enough to give themselves the best chance of being able to get through.”
However, Ponting said there was a caveat. All three don’t have to play every game – as many as 11, if Australia makes the finals – if the conditions warrant another combination. “Who knows, there might be a few games through the World Cup where it might not be the best to take those three fast bowlers into a game,” he said.
“Wicket in England might look like it will be slower and turn more, so you go in with another all-around option and/or another spinner. But the administration is going to be a key because trying to priorities a CWC over an Ashes series … it’s impossible. You’ve just got to face what you’ve got in front of you.
“The entire goal for Aus cricket right now should be to win the CWC and worry about whatever happens after that, after that.”
Australia opens its World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on 1 June. The Ashes begins on 1 August in Birmingham, a little over two weeks after the World Cup final on 14 July.
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