‘Aus contenders for World Cup with Smith & Warner’
MELBOURNE: Australia can successfully defend their World Cup title in England this year with Steve Smith and David Warner back in the fray, new assistant coach Ricky Ponting said.
His upbeat assessment comes despite the misfiring team losing their two most recent ODI series at home, to India and South Africa. “Absolutely, I actually do,” said Ponting when asked in Melbourne if 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 lineup, I think that team looks as strong as any. Conditions in England will suit our style of play,” added Ponting, who was appointed on Friday as assistant to coach Justin Langer for the World Cup, focussing on the batting group.
The former national captain is hugely experienced in the oneday game, playing in five World Cups and winning three.
“I think I have a pretty good grasp on what it takes for tournaments like that,” he said.
Ponting will start after Australia’s upcoming one-day tours against India and Pakistan.
Smith and Warner are available for selection again from March 29, when their ball-tampering ban expires. Cameron Bancroft is already back playing.
“Once we get Warner, Smith and Bancroft back, and looking at the World Cup, I don’t think they’ll be too many better teams.
David Warner (left) and Steve Smith’s bans are set to end on March 29.