Calcutta: Australia are all set to use the upcoming four-match one-day series against England as a stepping stone towards formation of the squad for the 2015 World Cup. Resting players, getting the right combination and above all creating the right environment where players can give their best is what coach Darren Lehmann is focusing on now.
Australia’s day-night one-dayer against England on Sunday at the MCG, will start a calendar year in which they will play as few as 13 one-dayers, their lightest workload since 1995.
Lehmann spoke to the media on Thursday.
The following are excerpts
Mitchell Johnson being rested for Sunday’s match
It’s been a big series for Johnson. We are giving him a short break to make sure he is fresh for the rest of the ODIs. We want to pick the best side that we can. You have to understand it has been a hectic five-Test series and the boys need a little breaků But we will ertainly play him in the second ODI in Brisbane. That’s his home and he will play.
If one match rest will be enough for players who have played in all the Tests
We will sum up as we go and pick and choose for each match. We want the boys to play at their home centres and work towards building up a good squad for the World Cup. We certainly don’t want to go down the path as previously where we’ve rested many players. It’s important we put the best side we can, understanding it’s been a hectic five Test matches. Some of the Test boys, especially, are a bit weary.
The importance of getting the World Cup squad in order now
It is very important that we get the squad right. We have started to play some good one-day cricket of late, which is pleasing. We have certainly got some areas to improve on, which we know. So, from our point of view, to get the squad right for the home World Cup is of high importance.
The importance of maintaining the winning momentum
I think Michael (Clarke) summed it up very well last week when he said after the Test series in England, we needed to get back on track and start building that momentum. England too will try to build up for the World Cup. We have to play good cricket. Winning has become a habit for us.
The openers and the ones should bat down the order
It’s all about picking the right squad. We have to see who we are playing against and see who fits in. From No. 1 to No. 6, all slots are important. David Warner, Aaron Finch or Shaun Marsh — anyone can open on Sunday. We have to stay versatile... That’s very important.
On the disharmony in the England camp surrounding Kevin Pietersenů
I’m not going there to be perfectly honest. That’s for them to work out. We have got enough to worry about getting ready for a one-day series here, and then a Twenty20 series. We also have the World Cup to focus on. The England team have got decisions to make... They’ll make them I’m sure. All of them are good players and they have been around for a while. It’s up to them really.
Significane of this ODI series
We want to be the best in the world in all formats. We know it’s a lot of hard work but we need to do it more often and more consistently. When you play for the country, every player knows they have to do well in all formats. So this series will also be important for selection to future tours. Even players like George Bailey and James Pattinson know they have to perform to be selected.
On the warmth and change he has brought about in the side
(Laughs) Maybe I am just getting old... But seriously, it is not just me. It is the whole support system. The players are the ones who have to perform. But we have to create an environment where we can prepare them well. We have to see that they enjoy playing.