Australian legend Matthew Hayden has criticised Australia’s selectors for not picking fast bowler Ryan Harris in the squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
Harris has performed extremely well in his 21 One Day International (ODI) matches for Australia, taking 44 wickets at an average of less than 20, but the veteran bowler has been pigeon-holed as a Test Match specialist by the Australian selectors and he has not played an ODI for Australia since February of 2012.
Hayden believes that Harris is arguably the best bowler in the world at the moment after he bowled consistently during Australia’s 2-0 Test Series win over India and the Queensland great said that Australia’s selectors have made a big mistake not including Harris in the ODI side,
The line about his body not holding up for the whole tournament doesn’t wash with me,” Hayden said.
“If he can get through a Test match bowling 30-40 overs like he does surely he can get through a one-dayer, especially with seven days off between games.
“I don’t understand how the medical team couldn’t manage him through.
“The other suggestion is he’s being saved for the Ashes. Really?
“It’s a brave call to put an Ashes series ahead of a World Cup.
“If the tournament was overseas then maybe you would have considered that but we’re at home and he’s only got 10 overs to bowl each game, if that.
“No other captain can rely on a bowler more than you can rely on Ryan Harris, he’s just that good.”
It was not only the snub of Harris that had Hayden disappointed with the Australian selectors; with the two-time World Cup winner unhappy with the way that the selectors have handled the injury to captain Michael Clarke.
The selectors revealed on Sunday that Clarke will be given until Australia’s second match against Bangladesh in Brisbane on February 20 to prove his fitness, but Hayden argues that Clarke be ruled out of the tournament if he is unable to play in the opening match against England at the MCG on February 13.
“The other thing I think they’ve got wrong is giving Michael Clarke until the second game of the tournament against Bangladesh to prove his fitness,” Clarke said.
“For me, he needs to be fit game one and it would be a mistake by the national selection panel to think anything other than that.
“George Bailey needs to know if he’s going to be asked to lead the team to the World Cup or not and you have to pick your best side for the first game to create momentum at the start of the tournament.”
Despite the uncertainty over the final make-up of the Australian squad they are still clear favourites to win a record fifth World Cup with leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.
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