‘Aus con­tenders for World Cup with Smith & Warner’

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTSPORT -

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.

GETTY IM­AGES

David Warner (left) and Steve Smith’s bans are set to end on March 29.

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