Michael Hussey's World Cup dream has been realised after the selectors named him as the replacement player for the injured Doug Bollinger. However, they have decided to cover all their bases by flying Dirk Nannes to India to train with the squad as a standby player, in case of an unexpected injury or illness in their bowling stocks.
The decision means Hussey will be a full member of the squad and is available for Australia's next match, against Kenya in Bangalore on Saturday. His presence should bolster Australia's strength against spin, although the next question is who they would leave out of the starting XI to accommodate Hussey, with Cameron White and David Hussey both facing a fight to retain their positions.
Hussey was originally named in the 15-man squad but was withdrawn before the team flew out, as he had not yet recovered from a serious hamstring injury that required surgery. But Hussey made his comeback for Western Australia this week in a Sheffield Shield match at the WACA, where he made 19 and 11 but more importantly got through the match unscathed. The door opened for his return to the World Cup squad when Bollinger was sent home due to an ankle injury.
"Michael has successfully recovered from major hamstring surgery and is seen as someone who is capable of assisting Australia as we strive to win this tournament," the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said. "His skill, experience, ability against spin and the fact that he provides a left-hand option in the middle order is seen as critical in our World Cup defence now that he has successfully recovered from injury."
The addition of Nannes to the touring group was more of a surprise, although he will not be an official member of the squad and won't be able to play unless another player is ruled out of the tournament. The move is intended to cut down the travel time in case of a mishap in the day or so before a match, which wouldn't allow enough time to rush a bowler from Australia.
"Dirk will train with the Australian World Cup squad and be fit, available and acclimatised in the event of an injury to a fast bowler, in particular a new-ball fast bowler, in the final stages of this tournament," Hilditch said. "Dirk has been in excellent form and played a critical role in Victoria's recent Ryobi Cup victory and will be an excellent replacement bowler in the event of injury to a key opening bowler."
The left-arm fast man Nannes, 34, has been viewed mainly as a Twenty20 specialist by the national selectors, and has played only one ODI, which was against Scotland and was essentially a warm-up for a Twenty20 series. If required, he will keep up the trend of Australia relying on aggressive fast bowlers in the tournament, with Brett Lee, Shaun Tait and Mitchell Johnson the core of the attack, while John Hastings is already with the squad as back-up.