By Arjun Prasad
It is finally time for the eleventh edition of the prestigious ICC cricket World Cup tournament and this time, we move from the turning tracks in Asia to the bouncy pitches of Australia and New Zealand.
Speaking of the host country, Australia are by far the most accomplished side in the tournament notching up four World Cups including a hat trick of wins from 1999 to 2007. They have perennially boasted of a superior side in the one day format and continue to produce some of the greatest players in the world. Let us look at how they shape up heading into the tournament.
With the likes of Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and Brett Lee absent from the international scene, Australia looks like a side that lacks a touch of the tournament experience. But the presence of other stalwarts in the side more than make up for it. The Kangaroos will be under tremendous pressure to perform in front of a fanatical home crowd and you can be rest assured that Michael Clarke and his boys will be well up for the task.
Strengths – With the likes of David Warner, Glen Maxwell, Aaron Finch and Steve Smith in their ranks, the Aussies can tear apart any attack in the world. They will also be assisted by a fiery bowling lineup consisting of Johnson, Starc and Faulkner. The bouncy tracks will be tailor made for them to rip through opposition ranks.
Weakness – Australia banks on a heavy pace attack and hence their spin department looks fragile. Doherty is a quality spinner no doubt but he certainly is not world class material. They will also be sweating over Michael Clarke’s fitness and the skipper may end up missing the tournament if he fails to prove his mettle by their second game against Bangladesh.
Trump Card – James Faulkner is the man in form for the Aussies with both bat and ball and he will be their trump card wearing the all rounder’s shoes.
Squad: Michael Clarke (captain), George Bailey, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson, Steven Smith, Brad Haddin (wicketkeeper), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, James Faulkner, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Xavier Doherty.