Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood (AFP Photo)

Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood has recovered from a back injury that kept him out of action since January this year but admits he’s nervous ahead of the World Cup selection later this month.

Australia will name their 15-man World Cup squad on April 23. Hazlewood alongside Mitchell Starc recently resumed bowling in the nets while on recovery from separate injuries.

“There’s nerves, as there always is before a team is selected for a big tournament,” Hazlewood was quoted as saying by the Herald Sun on Monday. “There’s probably 20 plus guys who think they’re a really good chance of making it. It’s a good position to be in for Australian cricket.”

He added, “I’ve started bowling, I’m off a couple of steps at the moment, so that will start to ramp up pretty quickly through late April and in to May. “I’ve done a lot of work, rehab wise, running wise, gym wise. Everything should be fine.”

In Hazlewood and Starc’s absence, the likes of Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff have made it to the Australia squad, putting up impressive performances. The 28-year-old is eyeing a second straight appearance at the quadrennial tournament after being part of a successful campaign in 2015 when Australia won a record-extending fifth World Cup title.

There have been reports that with the World Cup a couple of months away, the selectors might not be willing to risk the pacer and instead keep him fit and fresh for the Ashes series in England that follows the mega tournament.

However, Hazlewood, who has 72 wickets in 44 ODIs so far, feels that playing in the World Cup will only add to his preparations for the Ashes.

“To be fit and ready for that first Ashes Test you have to have a lot of bowling under your belt anyway. There can’t be a better spot to do that than in a World Cup. One day cricket, a couple of games a week for five or six weeks is probably perfect prep in terms of body load. Hopefully I’m there and we can hold on to the trophy,” he said.