With just few days to go for the cricket world cup 2011 to begin, I have decided to take a look at the top contenders. In the first part I am going to take a look at Australia. Australia has won the cup 4 times and is the defending champion. That’s precisely the reason I decided to write a separate preview on them.
You can never count Australia out of any major sporting event. The team is still the best in the world in the 50 over format and has just had a crushing 6-1 victory over England in the ODI series. The current Australian team does not have the aura of the past 3 world cup teams and has only one great player in Ricky Ponting. The batting has been a struggle for the defending champions over the past year or so but their fighting spirit has kept them afloat in the shorter format. The Australian batting will be lead by the inform Shane Watson. Watson who has been brilliant for the Aussies over the past couple of years in all formats and will be a key member at the top of the order.
Ricky Ponting off course will be vital to their chances and the middle order comprising of David Hussey, Cameroon White and Michael Clarke need to step up to the occasion. Michael Hussey’s sudden removal from the squad due to injury is a major blow to the Australian chances as that has put enormous pressure on an inexperienced Australian middle order. The bowling though does not have such issues as Brett Lee’s return has given a definite edge to the pace department. Jason Krezja did a good job in the warm up game and will definitely be a good addition in the sub continental condition.
Even though Australia have struggled in the longer format in the recent years, their ODI form hasn’t dipped that much. They are still the best team in the world by a wide margin according to the rankings and would have to be considered as one of the favorites. I would place them as the top contender to win the world cup as they know how to raise their game for a major event. I am sure they will be one of the semifinalists this time and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are one of the two teams competing for the title on the 2nd of April at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.