Ponting rates Aussie World Cup chances

 cricket.com.au  02/10/2019 04:02:49 
Warner, Smith will boost Cup hopes: Ponting

Ricky Ponting knows exactly what it takes to triumph at a World Cup and the three-time winner has no doubt Australia can win this year's one-day showpiece.

Ponting was announced as Australia's new assistant coach on Friday, with the batting superstar signing on to help out former teammate Justin Langer during the ODI tournament in England and Wales in May, June and July.

Australia have won just four of their most recent 26 ODI contests, but Ponting believes the impending return of Steve Smith and David Warner will provide his side with an excellent chance of defending the World Cup title they won on home soil in 2015.

"Absolutely," Ponting boldly declared at the MCG on Sunday when asked if he thought Australia could win the World Cup.

"India and England are probably the two standout teams right now, but if you add Warner and Smith back into that line-up then I think that team looks as strong as any.

"I am not just saying that because I am one of the coaches, I actually said it when I wasn’t around the group.

"Conditions in England will suit our style of play ... I think Australia will be the one of the main contenders for sure."

Smith and Warner will become eligible for international cricket again from March 29 with a yet-to-be-confirmed five-game ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE expected to include two matches beyond that date. 

Steve Smith faces Aussies quicks at SCG

The duo are expected to slot straight into Australia's World Cup plans, while paceman Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are also in contention to return from their respective injury concerns to play a part in England.

"We went to World Cups with Michael Bevan injured, Darren Lehmann suspended, Warney (Shane Warne) went home and Jason Gillespie went home," Ponting noted.

"World Cups very rarely run exactly to plan.

"All the planning right now is we will have all those guys in the squad and if we do, it looks as good as any squad on paper."

Ponting suggested Australia's inability to play spin well had been a big concern of his in recent times, but a look at the current mix of players has him confident that this issue has been identified and will not cause much anguish during the World Cup.

"Looking at our line-up now, there are potentially a few better players of spin in the middle order than what we had last year," he said.

"The thing about English conditions is the wickets shouldn’t spin too much throughout the World Cup.

"With the inclusion of two of the best one-day players in the world who have a lot of experience, all of a sudden the team starts looking a whole lot better.

"You will have guys that will handle a lot of pressure situations better because they have done it all before."

Australia must finalise its 15-man World Cup squad by April 23, and that group will assemble at the Bupa National Cricket Centre in Brisbane in early May that will see players leave the IPL early.

The Australians' training camp will include a series of unofficial 50-over practice matches against a New Zealand side but the Black Caps have opted not to recall their leading players from the IPL.

Australia's World Cup fixtures

June 1: Afghanistan v Australia, Bristol (D/N)

June 6: Australia v West Indies, Trent Bridge

June 9: India v Australia, The Oval

June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton

June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval

June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge

June 25: England v Australia, Lord's

June 29: New Zealand v Australia, Lord's (D/N)

July 6: Australia v South Africa, Old Trafford (D/N)

July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford

July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston

July 14: Final, Lord's

For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE

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