Defending champions Australia open their campaign on 1st June 2019 against Afghanistan followed by matches against West Indies, India and Pakistan on 6th, 9th and 12th respectively. After facing Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, their match against the hosts and pre-tournament favourites England is on 25th June before they sign off against New Zealand and South Africa.
The composition of the Australian team is as follows:
Batsmen: Aaron Finch- Captain, David Warner, Steve Smith, Usmaan Khwaja and Shaun Marsh
Batsmen-Keepers: Alex Carey
Allrounders: Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis with both being batting allrounders.
Spinners: Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon
Fast bowlers: Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coultner-nile and Jason Behrendorff
SWOT analysis identifies internal strengths and weaknesses and also external threats and opportunities. Let’s run a SWOT Analysis of the Australian team;
Strengths: Nothing succeeds like success and no one is more successful than Australia in the world cup. They have won 5 world cups, including three in a row, they have reached 4 finals in a row and all three are standalone records. They have a strong batting line up and a handy attack and very importantly, they are peaking at the right time. They lost 0-5 to England and seemed out of sorts. Coach Justin Langer has brought about a transformation and they defeated India 3-2 on tour and won 5-0 against Pakistan to firmly show they are back in business. This confidence of past history and good current form will give the Aussies confidence that they will go deep in the tournament and maybe retain the Cup.
Weaknesses: Smith and Warner were not in the team as they served bans for the role in ball-tampering. Their lack of match practice in the 50 over format may be an issue. Of course, they played the IPL but it remains to be seen whether they can make the quick transition from club T20 to International ODI, that too the World Cup. Being quality players they will probably get it right. Alex Carey the wicket-keeper is inexperienced and he does not have a backup which is a major issue.
Opportunities: The main opportunity for opponent teams is that the Aussie middle order can be susceptible to spin. In the 0-5 loss to England, one of the main reasons was the success of spin twins Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid who took 12 wickets each. The opponents, most of whom have got good spinners will seek to take advantage of this perceived susceptibility. Peter Handscomb will feel unlucky to miss out of course as he was it only in good form and had adjusted to the Aussie playing 11 but he was also a fine player of spin. Australia will seek to have Steve Smith rise to the occasion to address this issue.
Threats: The bowling attack looks great, but the fitness of bowlers is questionable as some are injury prone and it is a long tournament and virtually no match can be taken lightly. Power hitters of West Indies, balanced teams of England and India and good spinners in almost all teams could derail the Aussie campaign.
Overall, however, Australia is not just a contender, but also a favourite to retain the world cup as well.
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films, and music.
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