Qantas Tour of the UAE
Jhye ready to jump in if Starc, Hoff stumble
Uncertainty for Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood's return gives Jhye Richardson fresh chance to push his Cup credentials
19 March 2019, 07:58 AM AEST
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc's injuries mean the World Cup carrot is now almost within reach of more Australian pacemen, with Jhye Richardson in the box seat to earn a call-up at age 22.
Hazlewood, Starc and Pat Cummins were part of the triumphant 2015 World Cup squad and the widespread expectation was they would spearhead Australia's defence in England later this year.
Hazlewood's place in the squad is now in immense doubt because of the back injury he suffered in January, while Starc is yet to resume bowling after a false start in his recovery from a torn pectoral muscle.
It's understood Jhye Richardson is tracking towards inclusion in the 15-man squad but nothing will be decided until selectors meet in early April.
Jason Behrendorff was tidy in India, yet his World Cup hopes could ultimately rest in the hands of fellow left-armer Starc.
Starc hopes to be fully fit in time for Australia's World Cup training camp in early May but another setback could ruin the reigning World Cup player of the tournament's hopes of defending his and Australia's crown.
Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Kane Richardson are the fast bowlers currently preparing to face Pakistan in the UAE.
Cummins, who is expected to be rested at some point in the next fortnight as the tourists confront an imposing schedule of five ODIs in 10 days, recently praised Australia's "wealth of fast bowling stocks".
"It's really exciting," Cummins said. "Someone like Jhye ... still hasn't played a heap of ODI cricket.
"Dorff and Coults, I know they've had a few troubles with their injuries but every time they come in they seem to be bowling really well, now is no different.
"Kane Richardson had a great BBL as well, and we've also got two other big quicks to come back."
Coach Justin Langer highlighted the partnership of Cummins and Jhye Richardson after his team's landmark ODI series win over India.
"They're both great athletes. They bowl fast, they're brilliant in the field and they can bat as well," Langer said.
Australia start another five-match series in Sharjah on Friday.
The games against Pakistan will serve as Langer's final chance to assess his charges' form before the 15-man squad is named, due in by April 23.
Kane Richardson, who suffered a side injury in India but has rejoined the ODI squad in Dubai, is happy to be in the mix after what he feared was a more serious setback.
"It could have been a lot worse ... I thought I was done for the season," Richardson said.
Qantas Tour of the UAE
First ODI: v Pakistan, March 22 in Sharjah
Second ODI: v Pakistan, March 24 in Sharjah
Third ODI: v Pakistan, March 27 in Abu Dhabi
Fourth ODI: v Pakistan, March 29 in Dubai
Fifth ODI: v Pakistan, March 31 in Dubai