Fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, who was not included in Australia's 15-man squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019, expressed his disappointment at missing out on the flagship tournament, but stated his intent to make use of the downtime to better prepare himself for the Ashes series, which starts on 1 August.
Hazlewood, who was a part of Australia's World Cup-winning squad in 2015, was overlooked twice, the second time when the selectors called up Kane Richardson to replace the injured Jhye Richardson last week.
Hazlewood is recovering from a back injury and hasn't played a one-day international for Australia since November last year. The selectors had made it clear that they want Hazlewood to be fully fit for and concentrate on the Ashes.
"Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt,” chief selector Trevor Hohns had said. "Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes tour."
The pacer, however, showed his fitness during a training camp at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane, and hoped he could still find an opening into the squad.
"It was obviously bitterly disappointing," Hazlewood told Australian Associated Press. "It [World Cup] only comes around every four years. I was lucky enough to experience it on home soil last time. It'll probably hit me a bit once the tournament starts and you're watching on TV.
"I guess if someone went down halfway through the tournament, then my chances would be a bit better. You never know."
It [World Cup] only comes around every four years. I was lucky enough to experience it on home soil last time.
The flip side of not making the World Cup squad, however, wasn't lost on Hazlewood. "It will obviously mean I have a few more four-day games with the Dukes ball in England, so that's going to be fantastic for me," he said. "And probably put me a step ahead of a few other guys who are only going to get the one red-ball game before the Ashes."
The right-arm pacer is also a part of the Australia A squad that will tour England prior to the Ashes, with the first of their five 50-over games starting on 20 June.
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