Australia can win World Cup with Smith and Warner: Ponting

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MELBOURNE, Feb 10, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Australia can successfully defend its
World Cup title in England this year with Steve Smith and David Warner back
in the fray, newly-appointed assistant coach Ricky Ponting said Sunday.

His upbeat assessment comes despite the misfiring team losing its two most
recent ODI series at home, to India and South Africa.

“Absolutely, I actually do,” said Ponting when asked in Melbourne if
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 lineup, I think that team looks as strong
as any.

“Conditions in England will suit our style of play,” added Ponting, who was
appointed on Friday as assistant to coach Justin Langer for the World Cup,
focusing on the batting group.

The former national captain is hugely experienced in the one-day game,
playing at five World Cups and winning at three.

“I think I have a pretty good grasp on what it takes for tournaments like
that,” he said.

“Hopefully I can have an impact right from the start. The feedback from the
boys has been positive.”

Ponting, a close ally of Langer, will start after Australia’s upcoming one-
day tours against India and Pakistan.

Smith and Warner are available for selection again from March 29, when
their one-year bans for ball-tampering expire. Cameron Bancroft, who was
suspended for nine months, is already back playing.

“Once we get Warner and Smith and Bancroft back into the fray, and looking
ahead to the World Cup, I don’t think they’ll be too many better teams on
paper.

“You’ve got a lot of experience as well as a fair bit of youth going into
that tournament,” he added.

“Any team I’ve been a part of, we’ve always had a really good mix of youth
and experience and this current group will certainly have that going into the
World Cup.”

Ponting, who played 375 one-dayers and 168 Tests, previously worked as an
assistant with Australia’s Twenty20 side in 2017 and 2018.

He also accompanied Langer during his first tour — to England — after
taking over as head coach from Darren Lehmann last April following the
tampering scandal in South Africa.

Ponting suggested he could be available for the Twenty20 World Cup next
year, although his commentating duties during the Australian summer made it
hard for him to commit to Test cricket.

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