(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Mon 25 Sep 2023, 10:17 PM
Five-time champions Australia face their biggest challenge going into this year's World Cup after five consecutive defeats in the lead-up to the big tournament.
One of the favourites, Australia's fortunes have changed in the last two weeks after losing the five-match series 3-2 to South Africa despite winning the first two games.
They lacked the spark again in the first two games of the three-match series against India, going down tamely.
The Aussies now need a morale-boosting win in the inconsequential final match of the series in Rajkot on Wednesday.
Australia's biggest concern is their bowling as their main bowlers have not played together as a unit. Strike bowler Mitchell Starc has not been part of the squad for a long time due to a groin injury. Skipper Pat Cummins, who came into the India series after injuring himself in the Ashes, needs to regain his white-ball rhythm before the start of the World Cup.
Sean Abbott, their other seamer, has gone for plenty in the last few games. Mitchell Marsh, their all-rounder has not bowled a single over.
Australia will be banking on the bowling skills of their other all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green if one of their main bowlers struggle in a match.
They have two good spinners, though, in Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, who can be tricky on turning tracks.
But it's not clear if the explosive Glenn Maxwell is fit enough to bowl a few overs of off-spin.
Australia's batting department is also grappling with some serious issues, especially after the injury suffered by Travis Head who is likely to miss the first few matches in the World Cup.
This team will rely heavily on their two most experienced batters, David Warner and Steve Smith, for big totals.
But can Warner and Smith bail the team out in every match?
Things are not looking very promising for Australia at the moment. But you can never write off a team that have won five ODI World Cups, the first of which came in 1987 when they started the tournament as huge underdogs only to go all the way under Allan Border's captaincy.
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