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Check out Australia coach Langer's advice to his bowlers

Last updated on: May 20, 2019 14:31 IST

'He's come off a second stress fracture in his back and while he's just starting to get up and running in the nets now -- I think he's played six white ball games in the last 18 months -- that's T20 and one-day cricket'

Hazlewood, who partnered left-arm quicks Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson during Australia's 2015 World Cup triumph, expressed his frustration last week at first missing out on a place in the initial squad for England and then being overlooked as Jhye Richardson's replacement

IMAGE: Hazlewood, who partnered left-arm quicks Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson during Australia's 2015 World Cup triumph, expressed his frustration last week at first missing out on a place in the initial squad for England and then being overlooked as Jhye Richardson's replacement. Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

The bowlers need to develop "thick skin" to counter flat wickets and fast outfields in England during the World Cup, reckons Australia coach Justin Langer.

In the recent batsmen-dominated ODI series, hosts England and Pakistan put on board close to 350 runs in almost every match.

Langer said the bowlers need to take the responsibility of stopping teams from posting huge totals.

"There is a lot of talk about batting now in white-ball cricket, but our bowling is absolutely critical. In T20 it's absolutely critical and the same in ODI cricket. You are going to have a pretty thick skin to do well in international cricket, particularly on the flatter wickets and the fast outfields and the big squares we play on in England," said Langer.

"They are going to have to have thick skin but they are physically tough and mentally tough and they will be ready for it," he was quoted as saying by Australian media

Langer also defended the decision to drop Josh Hazlewood from the World Cup squad, saying the pacer didn't feature in enough limited over cricket to justify selection.

Hazlewood was  "bitterly disappointing" after missing out of the 15-man squad. It was Kane Richardson, who was roped in by the selectors following the shoulder injury that forced Jhye Richardson out of the squad.

"He just hasn't been playing any cricket," Langer said.

"He has come off a second stress fracture in his back and while he's just starting to get up and running in the nets now - I think he's played six white-ball games in the last 18 months - that's T20 and one-day cricket.

"We know he is a great bowler. He is a brilliant bowler, but it was just such bad timing for him."

Hazlewood had expressed his frustration following the omission and Langer said he has no problem with him voicing his disappointment, last week.

"He is a terrific bloke, he has been vice-captain of the team. He is a brilliant bowler... his numbers over the last four years have been good. But over the last 18 months, he just hasn't played enough (one-day) cricket," he said.

"I am sure he is disappointed. There's a few guys who are disappointed not to be in the squad. Hopefully through the Australia A series, he can start playing cricket again and then when he does that, we can't wait to welcome him back."

The five-time champions will play three warm-up matches, starting with an unofficial fixture with the West Indies on Wednesday.

Australia will take on hosts England ahead of a final practice match against Sri Lanka next Monday.

The defending champions will begin their World Cup campaign against a tricky opponent in Afghanistan on June 1 and Langer said the next few practice matches will be crucial ahead of the opening match.

"My biggest worry for the World Cup is we need to get match hardened again," he said. "By the end of the summer, we played very well against Pakistan. The boys were a bit weary, but they were up and running. So we are going to try to get out in the middle as much as possible.

"We have got three practice games in the next 12 days I think, every chance we get to get on a centre wicket is very important for us," he added

World champions Australia head into the tournament on the back of an eight-match winning streak, including series wins away to Pakistan and India.

Much of the focus on Aaron Finch's team will follow former captain Steve Smith and David Warner, who are back in the squad after serving 12-month bans for ball-tampering.

Both played key roles in the 2015 tournament and have made plenty of runs in the lead-up to England, with Warner top scoring in the Indian Premier League and Smith smashing two half-centuries off an understrength New Zealand in an unofficial warmup series in Brisbane.

Langer said both players were champing at the bit.

"It's been hilarious for me, because whether on the Anzac Cove or in the lunch room or we're on the bus playing cards, (Smith's) just shadow batting the whole time," he said.

"He loves batting -- he's shadow batting on the sand, he's shadow batting in the shower -- I'm not joking.

"They (Smith and Warner) HAVE had 12 months to have a good think about a mistake they and the team made. I'm sure they'll be better people for that."

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