The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Injuries a blessing in disguise: Buchanan

Melbourne: The mounting injury toll that has sidelined about half of Australia’s World Cup team has been a blessing in disguise, coach John Buchanan said.

Rather than ruin the team’s preparations, Buchanan said the injuries had helped because they allowed established first team members to take a much-needed break and give some of the fringe players a chance to show what they can do.

Buchanan said some Australian players were feeling jaded by the end of the Ashes series after a long and heavy schedule over the past 12 months but were now refreshed and ready for the World Cup.

“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.”

Almost half of Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad is suffering or recovering from some ailment but the only player to be ruled out of the tournament was all-rounder Shane Watson.

Michael Bevan was also in doubt after tearing a groin muscle a week ago but the selectors have decided to take a gamble on his ability to recover quickly.

“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 believe Glenn is okay and I’ll go with their advice and he’ll be in great shape for the tournament.”

Australia won the World Cup in 1999 for the second time and are favourites to win again this time even though no country has won back-to-back titles since West Indies in 1975 and 1979.

“We’re not going there to defend it,” Buchanan said. “There is no real relationship to what happened four years ago. We won the World Cup with a different team four years ago and the make-up of this team is significantly different.”

The Australians leave for South Africa on Thursday.

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