WC 2003 - Injuries may prove beneficial at World Cup: Buchanan

Published: Tuesday, January 28, 2003, 20:49 [IST]
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Brisbane: Australia's injury worries could actually help Ricky Ponting's team win successive cricket World Cups, coach John Buchanan said on Tuesday.Rather than fret over injuries to key bowlers Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, Buchanan hopes the enforced rest has sharpened his players for their opening match with Pakistan in Johannesburg on February 11.Buchanan said he had been concerned about keeping his players fresh for the World Cup during a draining 10-month playing schedule, which began in Nairobi last August."What the injuries have done for players like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne is provide them with a rest and now they'll come into the tournament physically and mentally fresh," Buchanan said."They've had an opportunity to get away from the game along with other players who have rested from some matches and we're hoping to see the benefits of that."In some ways (the injuries) could eventually have a positive side for us."Buchanan said Australia had taken precautions to ensure the players were not subject to the welter of injuries that flattened England's Ashes campaign over the last few months.England selectors were criticised for bringing injured players on tour and Australia will take the same risk with Michael Bevan (groin), McGrath (back) and Gillespie (elbow) recovering from injuries.All-rounder Shane Watson (back) was the only player ruled out of the World Cup, leaving much depending on the fitness of McGrath, Warne, Bevan and Gillespie."Apart from Michael Bevan, one of the principles we wanted to follow was not to take injured players to the World Cup and we've basically achieved that," Buchanan said."But there are some allowances for 'potential match-winners' and that is the likes of Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne."The medical staff believes Glenn is OK and I'll go with their advice and he'll be in great shape for the tournament."Buchanan was reluctant to talk about an Australian World Cup title defence."We're not going there to defend it," he said."We won the World Cup with a different team four years ago and the make-up of this team is significantly different."There is no real relationship to what happened four years ago."The Australian squad arrives in Johannesburg on Thursday and Buchanan hopes the team will have two warm-up matches before the Pakistan opener.

Copyright AFP 2001

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