Ricky Ponting believes the imminent return of Steve Smith and David Warner will provide Australia a great chance of defending their World Cup title this year in England and Wales. Ponting, who captained Australia’s triumphant 2003 and 2007 World Cup sides, was announced as side’s assistant coach on Friday.
The defending champions have been going through a horrible phase in One-Day Internationals, winning just four out of their last 26 ODIs.
“Absolutely,” Ponting declared at the MCG on Sunday when asked if he thought Australia could win the World Cup.
“India and England are probably the two standout teams right now, but if you add Warner and Smith back into that line-up then I think that team looks as strong as any.
“I am not just saying that because I am one of the coaches, I actually said it when I wasn’t around the group. Conditions in England will suit our style of play … I think Australia will be one of the main contenders for sure.”
Both Smith and Warner’s bans will end on March 29, but their preparations have been disrupted by elbow injuries. The two, however, are expected to straight walk into the team once they are fit.
“We went to World Cups with Michael Bevan injured, Darren Lehmann suspended, Warney (Shane Warne) went home and Jason Gillespie went home,” Ponting noted.
“World Cups very rarely run exactly to plan. All the planning right now is we will have all those guys in the squad and if we do, it looks as good as any squad on paper.”