World Cup selection will be 'brutally unlucky' for some, warns Langer

By Sports Desk March 31, 2019

Justin Langer says one or two players will be "brutally unlucky" to miss out on selection when Australia name their Cricket World Cup squad.

Langer's men will head to the United Kingdom for the global tournament, which begins at the end of May, having won eight ODIs in a row, after they completed a 5-0 sweep of Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

Much debate has centred on how Australia will fit Steve Smith and David Warner – both available again after 12-month bans for their roles in last year's ball-tampering scandal – into a batting line-up that fired consistently against India and Pakistan.

There is also stiff competition for bowling places and Langer was quoted by cricket.com.au as saying: "We know categorically there are going to be one or two guys brutally unlucky not to get selected because they're all going so well.

"The blokes in the squad at the moment will be praying it's not them."

While Australia's selectors appear to have a tough task ahead of them, Langer added: "It's actually becoming more obvious by the day to me, the same with the other selectors.

"It becomes more clear as you watch games. That's why games are so important. There's obviously going to be a couple of really disappointed players, but that's the tough business we're in."

One of the biggest selection dilemmas concerns the opening slots. Warner is a proven performer at the highest level and his first three Indian Premier League innings over the past seven days have yielded scores of 85, 69 and 100 not out.

However, Australia's incumbent openers have both excelled in recent weeks. Skipper Aaron Finch plundered 451 runs in five matches against Pakistan, while Usman Khawaja's 98 on Sunday was his fifth score of 88 or more – including two centuries – in 10 innings.

Langer hinted at all three being picked at the World Cup as he stated: "David has shown he's a very versatile player, Uzzie's batted three a number of times, Finchy's batted in the middle order. Versatility is important."

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