Queensland captain James Hopes says the race to earn a World Cup squad berth will make for a cracking domestic one-day cup this month.
Queensland captain James Hopes believes the race to earn cricket World Cup squad spots will add an extra dimension to the domestic summer.
With the Australian one-day team in the Middle East to play Pakistan, those left at home have to press their claims during this month’s domestic one-day cup.
The tournament starts in Brisbane on Saturday and Bulls skipper Hopes says any player with international aspirations must use the three-and-a-half week event to get the attention of the selectors.
“I think the squad’s pretty much picked. There may be one or two spots up for grabs,” Hopes said.
“It’s going to be an exciting tournament because of that fact, because there’s a World Cup.
“There’s so many players that are vying for probably only one or two spots in a 15-man squad.”
The Bulls go into the event aiming for a hat-trick of titles, and Hopes believes in ex-Test batsman Usman Khawaja he has a player who is ready to deliver something special.
Hopes says the left-hander has returned from a spell with English county Lancashire with a “bee in his bonnet” and is ready to prove his knockers wrong.
“I stand by every word I’ve ever said about Usman. I think he is on par with (Alex) Doolan as Australia’s best No.3 option,” he said.
“He’s hitting them very well as he always does. People call him lazy and that he’s a lazy batsman … it’s just the way he bats, he makes it look very easy at times.
“He’s ready to go and I’m excited about him.”
NSW captain Moises Henriques is another who could force their way into the frame with a solid tournament.
The ex-Test all-rounder says the philosophy is simple, have a good tournament first and worry about a call-up after that.
“You’ve got approach cricket to win games, that’s the only approach I take,” Henriques told AAP.
“If you’re performing well for your state and you’re doing well and your team’s winning, then at least you’re doing all the right things.”
The tournament gets underway on Saturday with two matches, Queensland taking on Victoria at the Gabba while NSW play South Australia at Allan Border Field.