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Aussies to spare stars vs Holland

Potchefstroom: Australia coach John Buchanan has said the world champions will use Thursday’s World Cup Group A match against Holland to rest key players.

With Roland Lefebvre’s team unlikely to extend his in-form side, Buchanan said a few players who took part in the comfortable opening wins over Pakistan and India would be given a break.

“It is a long tournament and, although most players feel they could play right through, this is now an opportunity not to play a couple of them and give those who have not had much cricket an opportunity,” Buchanan said on Monday.

“In our thinking, I would like to go to Zimbabwe with 14 players all of whom have had some cricket under their belts and are in contention for selection.”

Buchanan said Jason Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist were most likely to miss the match.

They would be replaced by pace bowler Andy Bichel, allrounder Ian Harvey and batsman Jimmy Maher, with the latter also taking over the wicketkeeping duties.

Buchanan also expects the batting order to be switched to ensure players short of time at the crease get an opportunity to play lengthy innings.

“I would think the likes of (Michael) Bevan, (Darren) Lehmann, Harvey, (Damien) Martyn and Maher would be pushed up to the top order,” he said.

Australia are relaxed and confident going into the match, a fact reflected by Buchanan’s admission they are unlikely to do much homework on their opponents as well as their decision to take two days off before pre-match practice.

At least one British bookmaker shares their confidence and is offering odds of 2000/1 on for an Australia victory.

With Australia expected to win so easily, there is naturally also the question of whether they can break any records, but Buchanan played down that talk.

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