WC 2007 now a challenge for Australia: Hohns

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Winning the 2007 World Cup is a challenge for Australia as they start to juggle their side after their Ashes defeat to England, Australian chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns told AFP.

Hohns is touring Pakistan with Australia A to spot future players for his country in the aftermath of Australia's first Test series loss to their bitter rivals in 18 years.

"I suppose winning the 2007 World Cup is a challenge now," Hohns, who played seven Tests for Australia in the late 1980s, said Monday.

"Australia won the last two Cups, so it would be nice to win three in a row and we consider the timing is right now for us to start juggling our side and that we will be doing," he added.

Australia last week axed Ashes flops Damien Martyn, Jason Gillespie and Michael Kasprowicz from the Test squad for next month's Super Series against the World XI.

Gillespie, Kasprowicz and opener Matthew Hayden were also dropped from the one-day side as Australia start rebuilding for the 2007 World Cup.

But Hohns, 51, denied that Australia were on the road to decline.

"I don't agree. We have been beaten by England, who are a very, very good side which Pakistan will see very soon," said Hohns, referring to England's tour of Pakistan starting next month.

"The future of Australian cricket is very strong. We may not win all the time, sooner or later you had to lose because others have been trying to come up to the Australian level and, maybe, some of them have reached that mark," said Hohns.

Hohns said Australia's batting let Ricky Ponting's side down in the Ashes.

"We may have been a little under-prepared, I don't know. I think possibly, if we lack in anything, our batting was not as we expected," he said.

"The bowling lacked something and we also dropped catches. It was unlike the Australia side which has performed so well for many, many years."

Hohns said Australia have quality back-up players but replacing greats like Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne would be tough.

"No doubt that we have quality players to fill in but filling in the shoes of McGrath and Warne may be a little difficult. They are two of the all-time great bowlers in one side and we need to restructure to make up," he said.

Australia A, led by Brad Haddin who is understudy to current Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist, lost the two-match Test series 1-0 against Pakistan.

Their three-match one-day series is squared at 1-1 with the last match on Tuesday.

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