Australia’s ability to adapt to situations is their biggest strength. Under normal circumstances, the teams from Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa do find it difficult to adjust to the tracks in the Indian sub-continent. However, one look at Australia’s record in India, and one would have thought that they are the home side. Since 2007, Australia has won two, back-to-back ODI series against India apart from having clinched the Champions Trophy in India in 2006 as well.
The Aussies have been crippled by the retirements of their former greats. The likes of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn, Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Andrew Symonds are only some of those who are no longer a part of the side which has meant that the replacements have taken their own time to get used to international cricket. It remains to be seen whether the young Australian side will be able to step up well enough to defend their title they had won in 199, 2003 and 2007.
Usually, the format that has been used in this tournament would have suited the opposition more than Australia had it been the previous Australian sides. Post the first round, one loss would mean that the side was out of the tournament and that was probably the only way the really strong Australian side could have been ousted earlier. Now, things have changed and Australia is no longer the favourites – which is why a format like could suit them more than before. Qualifying for the quarter-finals should not be difficult after which they will need to win three in a row to go through to another victory.
The World Cup comes only a month after the Ashes. A loss in the Ashes could deflate the side greatly after going into the Ashes with seven defeats in eight games and the confidence could go really low. Especially given that the Australian captain Ricky Ponting is already under a lot of pressure after struggling at the international cricket in 2010.
Not for nothing are the Aussies the three-time world champions. They won it in 1999 after it looked like they were dead, buried and less likely to qualify for the semi-finals than any of the last six teams. This was followed by two impeccable performances in the 2003 and 2007 World Cup editions where they won everything that came their way. Australia has also won the tournament in 1987, apart from being finalists in 1975 and 1996.
As mentioned earlier, Ponting could continue to lead the side in the World Cup – unless the Aussies lose the Ashes so badly that he is left with no option but to let go of the reign.
It will be the tournament for the youngsters from the Australian side one feels and Callum Ferguson could be the one who could make a huge name for himself. Amongst bowlers, it will be interesting to see whether Brett Lee makes it to the squad and how he does in India.