Justin Langer has indicated that if his current ODI squad maintains the results it achieved in its history making India campaign, it will be difficult for selectors to justify making significant changes for the upcoming ICC World Cup.
That will be the final competitive hit-out before the 10 competing teams must submit their 15-man World Cup squads to the ICC by April 23. And Langer claims that if Australia continues its winning ways, that group is likely to differ little to the squad he will lead to the Emirates where the first match against Pakistan is scheduled in Sharjah on March 22.
“It’s really hard to change winning combinations,” Langer said in the wake of Australia’s 35-run win in Delhi, to claim the trophy after losing the first two matches of the series.
“We’ve got a few selection headaches coming up obviously, but if we keep winning, the guys will be putting their best foot forward. I’ve said throughout, if we keep winning, selection usually looks after itself. It’s been one of our philosophies,” said the coach.
The largest “headaches” that the selection panel – Langer, in conjunction with chair Trevor Hohns and Greg Chappell – will be the imminent availability of established internationals Steve Smith and David Warner (from suspension) and the expected return of injured fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.
Of that quartet, Hazlewood would appear the least likely to figure in upcoming discussions about the squad that Australia takes into its World Cup defence in the UK, which begins in late May. Hazlewood has yet to resume bowling after being diagnosed with a back stress fracture earlier this year.
Langer attributes a significant portion of his current team’s success in India to players’ preparedness to shut out the impacts that individual efforts might have on their World Cup ambitions and focus instead on the team’s collective aspirations.
“It’s a real danger time in Australian cricket for a lot of individuals because of World Cup selection,” Langer said. “The trap is – and it’s really normal for humans to be thinking about getting picked – if you put the emphasis on yourself, you tend to put too much pressure on, and you don’t go well and we (the team) don’t go well. That’s why I’ve been so pleased with this group of players, it’s been about ‘we’ – we’ve talked about ‘we’. We talk about what ‘we’re doing’, not just what ‘I’m doing’, and that’s really important.”