Hopes questions early planning years out from 2015 World Cup
BRISBANE Heat and Bulls captain James Hopes is bemused at how planning for a World Cup in 2015 can start now.
Because of the 'forward thinking' approach applied by the national selectors, one of Australia's greatest one-day players, the just-retired Mike Hussey, will not get the farewell tour he deserves, and wanted.
All-rounder Hopes was part of the initial 30-man squad leading up to the 2011 World Cup, which was planned for many months in advance, before injuries ripped through the squad and severely dented those plans.
Hussey and Nathan Hauritz suffered injuries in the Australian summer leading up to the tournament and missed out, while Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Tait toured India under injury clouds.
That is why Hopes cannot understand the decision to look so far ahead.
"When I was there in 2011, they ended up having to make five or six changes six months out from the start of the tournament," he said.
"So to start planning for a World Cup in 2015 now, either they're planning very well, or way too early."
With Michael Clarke and David Warner being rested, Hopes said he thought the team named for today's first one-dayer against Sri Lanka was "probably the strongest one they could've picked", apart from Hussey's omission.
"Mike Hussey has been one of the best one-day players to play for Australia, so to see him not get the send-off he deserves is disappointing," Hopes said.
Another confusing part of the selected Australian squad was the fact 35-year-olds David Hussey and Brad Haddin were named.
That should mean Hopes, now fully recovered from a knee injury, is still a chance of earning a national recall at 34.
Hopes has picked up seven Big Bash wickets, but just 77 runs, saying, "I've bowled okay but my batting could be better. I'd never give up an opportunity if picked".
He said the spate of heated on-field incidents, including the Stars' Shane Warne and Renegades' Marlon Samuels almost coming to blows on Sunday night, showed "Twenty20 isn't a gimmick anymore".
When asked whether the incidents, and subsequent exposure they brought, were good for rescuing falling crowds in the sport, Hopes said: "When we see the Warne-Samuels thing get dragged out, and the umpires get involved, then that's a bit over the top.
"But when Dan Christian and Clint McKay shaped up (in the Heat v Stars game last Thursday night) they separated themselves after 10 seconds and had a laugh about it afterwards."