The Newsroom previews the teams for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. Today, the hosts Australia.
Pool A: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Sri Lanka
The ICC Cricket World Cup is right around the corner and Australia are regarded as the hot favourites to win the tournament.
Australia will share the hosting rights with New Zealand and are in incredible form in home conditions, having won all but one of their One Day Internationals (ODI) this season.
Australia have versed top opposition too, taking on South Africa in a five game series in which they won four games before the test series. They also won all their games rather convincingly in the tri-series against India and England.
The team: Australia have arguably the deepest squad in the tournament with stars appearing in all areas of their line-up.
There are however a few injury concerns with captain Michael Clarke’s suspect hamstring being the main worry as he races the clock to be fit for Cricket Australia’s deadline, Australia’s second group game against Bangladesh.
All-rounder James Faulkner also faces a battle to be fit for the second game after he suffered a side injury during the tri-series.
One of the world’s best finishers, Faulkner is seen as a major part of Australia’s tournament and will be sorely missed if he can’t take his place.
Shane Watson sat out the end of the tri-series with some soft tissue issues but is expected to be fit for the start of the competition.
Australia will obviously be suited by the conditions but will have to travel to New Zealand to play the Kiwis in what looks to be a danger game on February 28th.
Their batting lineup is as dangerous as any in the tournament with the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh in incredible form. Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell will provide some very powerful and dangerous hitting that can take a game away from any opposition.
Players to watch: One of the keys for Australia is their fast bowlers. Having only picked Xavier Doherty as a specialist spinner and not using him a lot in the tri-series, there is a lot of expectation on the pace bowlers.
Mitchell Johnson is back and appears refreshed after looking rather flat throughout the test series against Pakistan and India, and is bowling with some serious steam and energy.
Mitchell Starc had a terrific tri-series and was extremely consistent; he bowled fast, and was lively, showing plenty of much needed aggression. Young starlet Patrick Cummins has been in good form with the white ball making his Australian team return in the early Twenty20’s this summer as well as playing in the two ODI series that followed.
Again showing the depth of this squad is the selection of James Faulkner who is one of the best death bowlers in the world and one of the few Australians who can perform those crucial skills. Josh Hazlewood, who took a five wicket haul against South Africa earlier this season, has also been picked.
Australia are favourites to win the trophy for a fourth time in the past five tournaments. They have the proven formula to win games from all positions in this format and do not seem to have an obvious weakness that can be exploited.
Prediction: World Cup Champions – Jake Benoiton