Melbourne, Feb 8 (IANS) Australia’s World Cup campaign suffered a blow with injured batsman Michael Hussey and off-spinner Nathan Hauritz ruled out of the mega event beginning in the subcontinent Feb 19.
Cricket Australia (CA) sought and was granted permission from the International Cricket Council to replace them in the 15-member strong squad with Tasmania off-spinner Jason Krejza and South Australian batsman Callum Ferguson.
Australia have been battling injuries with several of its key players, including captain Ricky Ponting, on the injury list.
Selectors met Tuesday following fitness tests on Hauritz (shoulder), Hussey (hamstring), Ponting (finger), Steve Smith (hip) and Brad Haddin (knee). Both Hussey and Hauritz were considered too big a risk following surgery.
Andrew Hilditch, chairman of the National Selection Panel, said the number of injuries had placed his panel in a difficult position.
“During the Commonwealth Bank Series (against England) we had a number of injuries to prominent players in our World Cup squad. Specifically, both Mike Hussey (hamstring tendon rupture and repair) and Nathan Hauritz (right shoulder dislocation) suffered significant injuries, both of which necessitated surgery,” he said.
“Based on the medical advice, an application is being made to the ICC to replace both players (Hussey and Hauritz) in the World Cup squad,” Hilditch was quoted as saying in The Australian.
“We have applied to the ICC technical committee for Jason Krejza to replace Nathan Hauritz in the squad. Jason toured India with the Australian Test team in 2008 and understands those conditions. We’re certain he’ll be a key member of our squad.”
Shaun Marsh was brought in as cover for Hussey but he too injured himself allowing Ferguson a chance.
“Callum has an excellent record in One-day International cricket and played well in the one-day game against England in Sydney recently. We think he’ll play well in sub-continental conditions,” Hilditch said.
“Players outside the initial squad of 15, Shaun Marsh (hamstring strain) and Xavier Doherty (back injury) were not considered due to injury.”
Australia, who are looking to win their fourth successive and fifth overall World Cup, play their first practice match against India Feb 13 in Bangalore while their first league match is against Zimbabwe Feb 21.
Physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said Ponting and the other injured players were improving.
“Ricky Ponting is going well in his rehabilitation following his finger fracture,” he said. “He is batting regularly and is expected to transition into unrestricted training soon after the team arrives in India.”
“Brad Haddin was struck on the knee whilst batting during the seventh ODI against England. During the batting innings, the knee became swollen. We expect this to resolve soon after we arrive in India.
“Steve Smith is making very good progress from the groin injury he sustained in the sixth ODI against England.”
Hilditch said the selectors have received a full briefing from CA medical staff.
“The NSP has determined that the best strategy to ensure a successful campaign is for Australia to enter the tournament with a fully fit squad of fifteen from the first game.”