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Cricket World Cup: Australia gamble on Mike Hussey

Hussey averages almost 52 in ODIs
Hussey averages almost 52 in ODIs

Australia are gambling on the fitness of batsman Mike Hussey after naming him in their 15-man squad for the World Cup, which starts in February.

The 35-year-old left-hander has been ruled out of the rest of the current one-day series after undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring injury.

All-rounder Jon Hastings and batsman/wicketkeeper Tim Paine are the surprise picks in the squad.

Ricky Ponting was named captain despite his Ashes travails and finger injury.

Australia are the reigning champions and have won four out of the nine World Cups to have been staged.

However Ponting said a fourth consecutive title would still not ease the pain of losing the Ashes to England.

The 36-year-old said: "I'm not sure if anything would erase what's just happened... payback's going to be hard to get I guess after losing the Ashes.

"Whatever's happened has happened and you've just got to look forward and make sure you're as well prepared as you can be for the next series or tournament that you play."

Hussey, whose younger brother David is also in the World Cup squad, was one of the few Australia players to have a good Ashes series, scoring 570 runs at an average of 63. He has played 151 ODIs, averaging 51.96 with the bat.

But after undergoing an operation on Monday, his participation in the early stages of the tournament, remain a serious doubt.

Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said the injury, in which the hamstring tendon was torn from the knee, was more serious than first thought.

"Mike has returned to Western Australia after surgery to reattach his damaged hamstring tendon," he said.

Amir Mir

"He will now undergo intensive rehabilitation over the coming weeks and how he progresses through this rehabilitation period will ultimately determine his return to cricket.

"As this is an unusual injury in cricket, we will be closely monitoring his progress and making appropriate progressions.

"As yet, we have not determined a fixed time for his return to cricket training and playing. This will become clearer in the next two or three weeks."

The Cricket World Cup, being held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh starts on 19 February, with Australia starting their defence against Zimbabwe on 21 February.

Chairman of the selection panel Andrew Hilditch said: "We have selected a squad we believe is capable of winning a fourth successive ICC Cricket World Cup in sub-continental conditions.

"As the world's number one ranked one-day team and as the holders of both the ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy, Australia has been planning for this tournament for some time and we feel this squad is well-balanced.

"It includes the experience of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Brett Lee, and also some young talent like Steve Smith.

"Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin were all also part of the victorious 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup squad that went unbeaten in the Caribbean, so there is plenty of character in this group.

"One of the major decisions to be made in this squad was ensuring the balance was right in the squad to provide the best cover for all positions in the event of injury, illness or form issues that may arise."

The ICC's technical committee would decide on player replacements.

Australia squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke (vice-capt), Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin (wk), John Hastings, Nathan Hauritz, David Hussey, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Tim Paine (wk), Steve Smith, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Cameron White.

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see also
Hilditch defends Aussie selectors
07 Jan 11 |  England
World Cup venues behind schedule
15 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011 squads
19 Jan 11 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket

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