Australia opener Travis Head made a late entry into the World Cup after recovering from a fractured hand but says the injury was a “blessing in disguise”.
Five-time winners Australia take on South Africa in the second semi-final in Kolkata on Thursday where Head will renew his rivalry with fast bowler Gerald Coetzee, whose ball caused the damage.
A Coetzee rising delivery struck Head on the left arm in the third ODI of Australia’s tour of South Africa in September and scans revealed a fracture.
Head was in danger of missing the World Cup but Australia kept him in the squad until he was fit to play in the team’s sixth league match where he hit a match-winning century against New Zealand.
Reminded about facing Coetzee, who has claimed 18 wickets in seven matches at the tournament, Head said injuries are part and parcel of sport.
“I said to Gerald at the time I’m sure he didn’t mean to hit me in the hand. It was probably aimed a little bit higher than that,” Head, a left-hand batsman, joked.
“But that’s all part of the game. So I take a relaxed approach to all that sort of stuff whether it’s performance or injuries.
“He did me a favour, I got four weeks at home with the family, so I got refreshed to come back. And hopefully I can be refreshed and energised and can perform at the back end of the tournament. It might be a blessing in disguise.”
Head smashed a 67-ball 109 in the must-win match against New Zealand but misfired in the next three with scores of 11, nought and 10.
The 29-year-old said his style is not all-out attack. He is just as content playing the waiting game as well.
“I feel like I try and give myself the best chance to score off balls that I feel like I can and respect the ones in between. I think you have to do that. It’s international cricket, so I don’t think it’s all guns blazing every time.
“So it’s a balancing act. I feel like I’m in a good mindset to give myself the best chance to be as positive as I can be.”
Australia won seven straight matches in the league stage and remain two wins away from their sixth title.
“I’m sure everyone has thought about that,” Head said. “It hasn’t really been spoken about as a group, but we know what’s at the end of this tournament and what’s up for grabs.”
Head has played 62 ODIs for Australia since his debut in 2016 and scored 2,194 runs.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP