Synonymous with World Cup success, Australia will enter the showpiece with realistic hopes of widening the gulf between them and the rest, having tenaciously rallied from the ball-tampering saga that prompted radical changes in their cricketing culture.
The five-time winners have showed exemplary resilience in navigating the tempestuous phase that nearly broke their back and spirit, and the recent away series victories against India and Pakistan are proof of their never-say-die attitude.
The much-awaited return of David Warner and Steve Smith from their one-year bans has bolstered the team and boosted the morale of those, who will wear the yellow jersey in the United Kingdom.
The squad has completed its World Cup preparatory camp in Brisbane and headed to the the United Kingdom via a stopover in the Gallipoli peninsula.
Located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, Gallipoli peninsula holds great significance in Australia’s history as this was the place where 11,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers lost their lives in a disastrous Allied military offensive.
The most successful one-day side in history, Australia have lifted the trophy a record five times, including three consecutive wins between 1999 and 2007.
Winning three on the trot is no doubt unprecedented but such has been Australia’s dominance in the tournament that they emerged victorious even in the 1987 edition when they entered as rank outsiders after the exodus of some of their best players.
Hosting the tournament for only the second time four years ago along with New Zealand, Australia were not overwhelming favourites to lift the trophy but they still became champions at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground.
It will not be surprising at all if the current team, captained by Aaron Finch, triumphs at the hallowed Lord’s on July 14.
They certainly have the wherewithal to go all the way and record what could be an unprecedented sixth title.
Warner’s year-long international exile has come to an end and with nearly 700 runs in the Indian Premier League, he has sounded a warning to rival bowlers bracing up for the mega event.
While he did not quite set the IPL on fire like Warner, Smith showed glimpses of his old touch in the three warm-up matches against New Zealand recently.
After finding form in the latter part of the IPL, Smith played well for unbeaten innings of 89 and 91, enough for Justin Langer to say he had “slept better”.
Stripped of their roles as captain and vice-captain respectively and banned for 12 months for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal during the Test series against South Africa in March last year, both Smith and Warner will be using the sport’s biggest platform to make amends for their indiscretion in Cape Town.
It remains to be seen if Warner is given his usual opening slot or made to bat at number three. Only once in 104 ODI innings has Warner not gone in as opener.
Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls the selectors had to make to settle on the 15-man squad.
The squad does not include in-form batsman Peter Handscomb and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, while the likes of D’Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Ashton Turner and Matthew Wade also missed out, clearly showing the depth in the setup.
A depth that augurs well for them in the World Cup.
Squad: Aaron Finch (capt), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
Article source: https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/cricket-world-cup-2019/story/world-cup-2019-australia-record-sixth-title-david-warner-steve-smith-1528652-2019-05-19?utm_source=rss