Ryan Harris played his last ODI three years back © Getty Images

Jan 11, 2015

Leading pacer Ryan Harris will miss the ICC  World Cup 2015 with an eye to Australia’s Ashes campaign in England later this year, selectors said on January 11. Harris, who ranks among Australia’s prominent fast bowlers, was left out of the ICC World Cup 2015 squad named on Sunday.

It was no great surprise given the last of Harris’s 21 one-day internationals came almost three years ago, largely because of fitness issues instead of form. Harris, known for his work ethic and high pain tolerance, successfully returned from major knee surgery during the recent Test series against India.

Chief selector Rodney Marsh said he could have used the 35-year-old as a trump card in next month’s  ICC World Cup 2015, but wanted him in peak condition for the next Ashes series. “We would really like to see Ryan go to England, bowl his heart out in Test cricket and keep those Ashes. He’s that important to the team in Test match cricket. I know there’s nothing bigger than the World Cup, but maybe international one-day cricket – he’s had his time there,” said Marsh

Marsh suggested Harris was typically understanding of the decision. “I went to speak to him last night to tell him he wasn’t in the team,” Marsh. “I said, ‘Ryano’, and he said, ‘don’t worry mate, I know’. I think he would have loved to be in the side, but I think he also realises he would have struggled” Marsh said.

Mitchell Johnson, who missed the Sydney Test with hamstring soreness, and Josh Hazlewood are expected to be rested from Friday’s tri-series opener against England in Sydney. Kane Richardson and potential debutant Gurinder Sandhu have been added to the squad as cover. Hazlewood played three consecutive Tests and the team’s medical staff are likely to give him some time off.

“Once the ball is coming out well, you feel like you want to keep bowling,” Hazlewood said.