Sports

Defending champs Australia in bid to find old charm

Agency | February 25, 2019 03:02 PM

NEW DELHI:  Defending champions Australia, who are currently going through a bad phase, have started giving the final touch to their 2019 World Cup preparations and trying hard to stand up to the reputations that the team has made over the years.

Australia, who once used to be the favourites of the marquee tournament, are struggling to find their groove with a couple of stars missing from the squad due to controversies and injuries.

Five-time champions Australia is the only team which have won the World Cup in the countries that have hosted the till now.

They won in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015 editions. Besides, Australia had reached the finals of the 1975 and 1996 World cups losing to West Indies and Sri Lanka respectively. The team was also undefeated in 34 consecutive World Cup matches until a 2011 World Cup match where Pakistan defeated them.

But the current situation is not doing the justice to the records that previous generations made.

Australia have struggled hugely in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner. The experienced duo are nursing injuries and are trying to return to international cricket immediately after the end of their Cricket Australia-imposed 12-month ban.

They may, however, participate in the games leading to the prestigious tournament to be held in May-July in England and Wales.

Australia are currently in the sixth spot in the ICC rankings with 4290 points, with the list being led by England and followed by India, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan.

The Aaron Finch-led team is currently touring India and arrived here having lost the ODI series to India at home in January and drawn the T20I series last year.

Their recent form in limited overs cricket has not been the best as they managed only two wins in 13 ODIs in 2018.

This tour will be important for young players like Alex Carey, D. Arcy Short, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Zampa among others as the World Cup squad is yet to be announced.

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