London: The bowlers need to develop ‘thick skin’ to counter flat wickets and fast outfields in England during the World Cup, according to Australia coach Justin Langer. In the recent batsmen-dominated ODI series, hosts England and Pakistan put on board close to 350 runs in almost every match.
Langer said the bowlers need to take the responsibility of stopping teams from posting huge totals. “There’s a lot of talk about batting now in white ball cricket, but our bowling is absolutely critical. In T20 it’s absolutely critical and the same in ODI cricket. You’re going to have a pretty thick skin to do well in international cricket, particularly on the flatter wickets and the fast outfields and the big squares we play on in England,” Langer was quoted as saying by the Australian media.
“They’re going to have to have thick skin but I am sure they will succeed as they’re physically and mentally tough and they’ll be ready for it,” added the Aussie coach.
Langer also defended the decision to drop Josh Hazlewood from the World Cup squad. He said the pacer didn’t feature in enough limited over cricket to justify selection.
Hazlewood was ‘bitterly disappointed’ after missing out of the 15-man squad. It was Kane Richardson, who was roped in by the selectors following the shoulder injury that forced Jhye Richardson out of the team.
“He (Hazlewood) just hasn’t been playing any cricket,” Langer pointed out. “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.”
Five-time champions Australia will play three warm-up matches, starting with an unofficial fixture with the West Indies, Wednesday. Then they will take on hosts England ahead of a final practice match against Sri Lanka next Monday.
The defending champions will begin their World Cup campaign against a tricky opponent in Afghanistan.