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Few players will be ‘brutally unlucky’ as Langer faces World Cup selection dilemma
Selection Dilemma

Few players will be ‘brutally unlucky’ as Langer faces World Cup selection dilemma

Australia coach Justin Langer admitted few players will be "brutally unlucky" to miss out as he faces a selection dilemma ahead of the World Cup with Steve Smith and David Warner returning back to the fold.

The defending champions name their 15-man squad for the World Cup this month and Langer said the make-up was becoming clear on the back of the team's consecutive wins in eight ODIs against India and Pakistan.

"It's actually becoming more obvious by the day to me. The same with the other selectors," he said on the Cricket Australia website.

"We know categorically there are going to be one or two guys brutally unlucky not to get selected because they're all going so well... the blokes in the squad at the moment will be praying it's not them."

Also Read: ‘We’ll go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence’ – Aaron Finch

Australia made it eight wins in a row with a 20-run win in the fifth ODI against Pakistan in Dubai to inflict a series whitewash after beating India 3-2 recently.

One of the reasons for their red-hot form has been a rock-solid opening partnership between captain Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja.

Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb and Glenn Maxwell have also held the middle-order in good stead, leaving difficult decisions as to where Warner and Smith will fit back in after completing their bans for ball-tampering in Cape Town last year.

Having Warner banging the door a ‘good problem’

David Warner, who has been in prolific form so far in the IPL, seems a certain starter for their World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.

He bludgeoned a 55-ball ton against RCB after smashing 85 and 69 in his first two outings for Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Smith, who hasn’t been in much swashbuckling form with scores of 20 and 28 for the Rajasthan Royals, is also expected to be recalled by Australia.

Also Read: Australia bowling quartet denies reports of Test boycott over David Warner

Langer said having Warner knocking the door to open the batting was a "good problem" to have.

"Aaron has had a really good partnership with David Warner as well," he said, while pointing to the current partnership between Finch and Khawaja as "blossoming at the moment".

"They (Finch and Khawaja) are both pretty chilled out and I think they work really well together. I think it's a positive thing.

David has shown he's a very versatile player, Uzzie's batted three a number of times, Finchy's batted in the middle order. Versatility's important," he added.

Selectors facing bowling conundrum

Australia's selectors also face a bowling conundrum with the likes of Richardson, Coulter-Nile and Behrendorff doing well in absence of first-choice trio of Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins.

Pat Cummins is a certain starter but Mitchell Starc, the player of the tournament in World Cup 2015, and Josh Hazlewood, have both been struggling with injuries recently.

"There's actually some good depth of talent now," said Langer. "There's a number of guys who we could easily select... we've got some more confidence in the other guys."

Also Read: Australia get boost ahead of World Cup as injured Hazlewood, Starc resume bowling

Australia are expected to take two spinners, with Adam Zampa starting to work well in tandem with Nathan Lyon and pitches expected to be dry similar to the United Arab Emirates.

"They're doing a really good job aren't they?" Langer said of Zampa and Lyon. "In these conditions we've played two spinners, rarely do Australian cricket teams do that.

"But we've done it here and they've done a good job, which gives us more flexibility. Finchy knows if we get to Old Trafford and it's spinning, we can play two spinners because we've actually put it into practice.”