Australia is set to rest its fast-bowling trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazzlewood for the three ODIs against India in a bid to manage their workload ahead of a busy international calender.
Cummins has been Australia’s top performer with both the ball and the bat in the just-concluded Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and coach Justin Langer insisted that it’s a great selection “conundrum” for the hosts for the ODI series which begins in Sydney on January 12.
Langer said Australia need to keep its players fit and fresh ahead of busy 2019, which includes a World Cup and an Ashes tour and hinted that Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood may be rested in the ODI series against India ahead of the two Tests against Sri Lanka.
“It’s the great conundrum for us, really, how we manage our bowlers. For example, we might not play them in the next three one-dayers so they’re ready for the next two (Tests) to keep them fresh,” Langer was quoted as saying by ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’.
“He (Cummins) has been brilliant, he’s been outstanding but then – as soon as we do that they want to play and also then everyone else would be on our back saying: ‘Why aren’t they playing every single game?’ But if you play every game – we’ve also got a World Cup and Ashes next year – we want him fresh for those things.”
Cummins, who has been Australia’s best fast bowler in the first three Tests against India with 14 wickets at an average of 20.07, had earlier missed the ODI series in England and the two Tests against Pakistan in the UAE owing to injuries.
The lanky pacer is one of several Australian cricketers, who will not feature in the 2019 IPL because of a packed international calendar.
“You look at every year on an individual basis and the player as well. There might be times when it’s a really good thing for them to be playing IPL. But there’s so much cricket now. The players individually – and us as management – have to make sure we get the balance right so everyone is happy and playing cricket,” Langer said.
“So getting that management right and staying true to the management, so we can have him (Cummins) fit and firing – we’ve got to be strong with that because there’s got to be a lot of people with different opinions as to whether they should play every game,” he said.
“But we know it’s really hard to play all year around because they need to keep their bodies as fresh and strong (as possible) and then be bowling at the level we want them to be at. It’s a real balancing act as well.”