Australia have endured a terrible time in the One-Day International format, having lost sixteen of their past eighteen ODIs, the worst in their 50-over history. They have also lost their past four bilateral series, the first time they have lost as many on the trot.
But Ricky Ponting, the former two-time World Cup-winning captain, reckons that Australia will be one of the favourites for the World Cup to be held in England and Wales next June, in spite of their problems, both on and off the field.
“One thing I do know is we’ve got still the best depth of any cricket nation in the world and I will continue to say that,” the 43-year-old said at a Channel Seven promotional event.
“It’s only 12 months away from the next one-day World Cup. The last five games – (while) the results did not quite go our way, it gave an opportunity for some younger guys to get some games under their belts.”
The Australians have sixteen ODIs scheduled, consisting of a three-match home series against both South Africa and India, followed by five-match ODI tours of India and Pakistan in February and March next year. Their World Cup campaign kicks off at Bristol against Afghanistan on June 1 2019, and Ponting believes that the Australian fifteen-man squad would be as good as any other team in the world on paper.
“I’m really excited about what the future holds not just right now but for the next 20 years. We are a passionate cricket nation that keeps producing good players,” said Ponting.
“We’ve got some seriously good players that at their best will challenge any team in the world in any conditions.”
Australia will look to welcome at least four first-choice players missing from the recent England whitewash due to injury – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh – when they play South Africa at home in November.
Justin Langer may have endured a difficult start to his coaching stint with the national side, but Ponting is confident that the atmosphere in the dressing room will be positive, especially in the light of the recent ball-tampering scandal.
“The environment Justin Langer will create around that team will be a place that everyone will just get better, they’ll just improve, they’ll love the environment,” Ponting remarked.
Ponting, who has been a consultant for the Twenty20 side in the past year, has confirmed that he plans to continue working with the limited overs sides when time permits.