Mark Waugh has defended Australia's selectors.
Mark Waugh has defended Australia's selectors.

Waugh hits out: ‘Hasn’t got a clue’

CRICKET legend Mark Waugh has jumped to the defence of Australia's selectors as they prepare to choose a squad for the World Cup in England this year.

Waugh, himself a former national selector who stood down from his position last year, said critics should realise those responsible for picking the team often have many factors to consider and issues that seem to have a simple solution to some fans aren't always so black and white.

Waugh hit back in the face of questions about Australia's reluctance to play two specialist spinners in their one-day side until recently, when Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon teamed up for three games in India.

Zampa appears a World Cup certainty after taking 11 wickets against India in the five-match series, while Lyon chipped in with three scalps from as may outings on the subcontinent.

Lyon has played precious little ODI cricket in his career - just 20 matches compared to 86 Tests - but chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said as more teams opt for multiple tweakers in their squads, Australia would be naive not to at least consider a similar plan of attack.

"Most teams around the world seem to be including one at least and probably two spinners in their World Cup squad," Hohns said during the tour of India. "We expect them to.

"We can't bury our heads in the sand and just say we're going with fast bowlers when spinners in world cricket, and in one-day cricket in particular, are being very, very successful."

Nathan Lyon got a chance in the ODI series in India.
Nathan Lyon got a chance in the ODI series in India.

The 3-2 loss to the Aussies aside, India has been successful with spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in their side, while England has often played with Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the 50-over format.

However, it must be noted Jadeja and Ali can hold their places in their respective teams as all-rounders, while Lyon and Zampa are both specialist bowlers.

Waugh took exception to suggestions Australia should have been looking at the prospect of spin twins much earlier.

Replying to a comment from ex-Queensland opening batsman Ryan Broad, Waugh said he was happy to talk cricket to the former star but accused Brettig of having "no clue about something he reports on".

The 128-Test veteran also said selectors don't have the luxury of hindsight when picking a team.

In addition to the spin dilemma, pace is also another talking point ahead of the World Cup.

Jhye Richardson is eyeing off a World Cup berth.
Jhye Richardson is eyeing off a World Cup berth.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc's injuries mean the World Cup carrot is now almost within reach of more Australian quicks, with Jhye Richardson in the box seat to earn a call-up at age 22.

Hazlewood, Starc and Pat Cummins were part of the triumphant 2015 World Cup squad and the widespread expectation was they would spearhead Australia's defence in England.

Hazlewood's place in the squad is now in immense doubt because of the back injury he suffered in January, while Starc is yet to resume bowling after a false start in his recovery from a torn pectoral muscle.

It's understood Richardson is tracking towards inclusion in the 15-man squad but nothing will be decided until selectors meet in early April. Jason Behrendorff was tidy in India, yet his World Cup hopes could ultimately rest in the hands of fellow left-armer Starc.

Starc hopes to be fully fit in time for Australia's World Cup training camp in early May but another setback could ruin the reigning World Cup player of the tournament's hopes of defending his and Australia's crown.

Mitchell Starc is hoping to be fit for the World Cup. Picture: AAP
Mitchell Starc is hoping to be fit for the World Cup. Picture: AAP

Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson are the fast bowlers currently preparing to face Pakistan in the UAE.

Cummins, who is expected to be rested at some point in the next fortnight as the tourists confront an imposing schedule of five ODIs in 10 consecutive days, recently praised Australia's "wealth of fast bowling stocks".

"It's really exciting," Cummins said. "Someone like Jhye ... still hasn't played a heap of ODI cricket.

"Dorff (Behrendorff) and Coults (Coulter-Nile), I know they've had a few troubles with their injuries but every time they come in they seem to be bowling really well, now is no different.

"Kane Richardson had a great BBL as well, and we've also got two other big quicks to come back."

Coach Justin Langer highlighted Cummins and Jhye Richardson's partnership after his team's landmark ODI series win over India.

"They're both great athletes. They bowl fast, they're brilliant in the field and they can bat as well," Langer said.

Australia starts another five-match series in Sharjah on Friday. The games against Pakistan will serve as Langer's final chance to assess his charges' form before the 15-man squad is named.

Kane Richardson, who suffered a side injury in India but has rejoined the ODI squad in Dubai, is happy to be in the mix after what he feared was a more serious setback.

"It could have been a lot worse ... I thought I was done for the season," Richardson said.

With Rob Forsaith, AAP

News Corp Australia


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