Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia pace bowler John Hastings has admitted that he thought his international career was done and dusted when he injured his right knee during a Sheffield Shield match in December.
Hastings had to undergo surgery to repair a tendon, but upon hearing his diagnosis early on, the 31-year-old was especially nervous as he was told that he could be out of action for nine to 10 months.
However, that was later scaled back to four months, which significantly lifted his spirits as it gave him the opportunity to make the cut for Australia’s Champions Trophy squad.
“I think the early diagnosis for my injury was quite bad and I thought that could have been it, no doubt,” Hastings said. “But once they got in there and had a look, it wasn’t so bad. Nine-ten months [out of the game] came down to about four months, so that the Champions Trophy was well in my mind.
“Having a good 12 months and then missing out on that New Zealand series was tough to take, and then obviously I got injured and missed the rest of the summer. So I was in a pretty flat spot at times during the Big Bash, but once I had the operation and got into my rehab I got out of that and I got focused on what I needed to do to get here.”
Hastings opted to sign for Worcestershire this season in order to keep playing competitive cricket in England after spending time with Durham. Last month however, he received a call from national selector Trevor Hohns and admitted that he was unsure what to expect.
“I thought he might be ringing for one of two things; either to tell me I don’t have a Cricket Australia contract or tell me I was in [the squad],” Hastings said. “And it was both in one. So it wasn’t too bad, it was bittersweet. He’s been brilliant. Very good communication over those six months, working towards this tournament to try and be ready for it.
“Over the past six months, everything I’ve been doing is to just be ready for this Champions Trophy. I gave myself a little tiny pat on the back on getting here, but now I really, really want to do well.”
Even though Australia’s final Champions Trophy warm-up game against Pakistan was washed out on Monday after just 10.2 overs, Hastings feels that he is well prepared for the tournament as he has represented Worcestershire in seven Royal London One Day Cup matches, where he took 10 wickets at an average of 37.60.
“I am 31-years-old now and like to think I have enough experience to know what is needed to get over these next couple of days at training to hit the ground running on Friday,” he said. “I think that’s probably one of the main reasons I am in the squad, because I have played in these conditions over the last three-and-a-half years. Every chance I get, I love playing for Australia and it will be no different in these three round games and hopefully the semis and the final.”
In regards to the other teams that could potentially pose a threat in the competition, Hastings has no hesitation in naming England as the favourites to win since they will be playing on home soil.
Furthermore, England are coming off a 2-1 win over South Africa in a three-match ODI series.
“I think English cricket domestically in white ball is as good as any domestically around the world that I’ve played in,” he said. “And I think they’ve got some great players and obviously they go quite hard. I saw a stat the other day that their last 10 innings batting first they’ve got over 330 [sic], so they’re an exciting outfit and I think they’re starting to find a combination that works well with the ball. So I think they’ve got to be the hot favourites and the ones that we’ve got to knock off.”