Aust selectors mull team for CWC quarters

Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood?

It’s likely to be the only question national selectors wrestle with this week as they mull the XI for Australia’s World Cup quarter-final at the Adelaide Oval.


Australia have made at least one change for every match since belting England in their tournament opener at the MCG.

Part of it has been fitness concerns, while form and differing pitches have also been a factor.

The tournament co-hosts look to have largely settled on their first-choice XI, with the exception of one spot.

Left-armers Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc have played every game in the past month.

But the third prong of the bowling attack has been harder to pin down – Cummins, Hazlewood and spinner Xavier Doherty have been given a go.

“It’s the beauty of four of us trying to get into three spots every game,” Cummins said.

“We want to do well but there’s also that added pressure of trying to hold your spot.”

Cummins returned from a side injury against Scotland on Saturday, when Australia wrapped up second spot in pool A with a seven-wicket win.

Doherty could yet keep Cummins and Hazlewood out of the side for Friday’s clash in Adelaide.

However, the Tasmanian tweaker is more likely to be considered for an SCG semi-final should Australia progress.

Adelaide Oval has traditionally been a spin-friendly pitch.

But based on the drop-in decks he has encountered at the venue this season, Cummins predicted the strip would favour pace.

“(It’s) been fast, bouncy both games I’ve played there,” the 21-year-old said.

“It’s been probably close to the quickest wicket I’ve played on this year I reckon.

“So obviously with a few of us trying to bowl quicker, I think it’s going to favour us.”

Starc has been arguably the form bowler of the tournament, while Johnson at his best can be a frightful proposition for any batsman.

Cummins suggested his side’s potent attack was a point of difference compared with other title contenders, especially in the middle overs.

“Batsmen try and accumulate plenty of singles and I think with fast bowlers you can try and rough them up,” the right-armer said.

“Or have a bit more flexibility of trying to be aggressive through those middle overs, so hopefully it’s one thing that sets us apart.”

Cummins’ opening spell of two overs conceded 17 runs against Scotland, but he bounced back in Hobart to finish with three wickets.

Given Cummins’ history of serious injuries, the speedster was thrilled to be on the park again after hurting himself a fortnight ago in Auckland.

“I have done my side two or three years ago and that was a real bad one,” Cummins said.

“This time I could tell it was nowhere near (as bad).

“But I did need that … rest.”

Australia will enjoy a day off on Monday before they return to training.

“It’s getting towards the business end. We just can’t wait to really get into the pressure games,” Cummins said.