Interesting To See How Aussies Handle Pressure

The Australia squad has been announced for this year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, and there is going to be some disappointment for the guys who missed out.  But the ones, who got selected, have earned the right to be there.  Like all the ICC Cricket World Cups, there are always a few really tough matches in the pool stage, and for Australia, I think England, New Zealand and Sri Lanka will be the big ones.  The three matches that Australia is ‘supposed’ to win comfortably are Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland.  The players can hopefully gain some form against these teams and take momentum into big matches.

In this World Cup, I believe the harder pitches and the two new white cricket balls will be the key.  Therefore, the battle between fast bowlers and top-order batsmen will be important, and will go a long way in terms of the results.  I think Australia can win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, but it needs runs up front.  Playing in Australia will bring some added pressure and it will be interesting to see how the side handles this.  I think Australia has selected a well-rounded squad.

1. Michael Clarke – I hope he can get fully fit in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup, and that his injury doesn’t become a distraction to the team.  It will be interesting to see where he might bat in the order.  I would bat him at 3, and though I’m not sure if his body will be able to take the workload, because it is a World Cup, he might just get through.
 
2. David Warner – An amazing striker of the ball, he really puts the opposition under the pump.  If he can play some of those match-winning innings and take some momentum into the back end of the tournament, he could single-handedly win the trophy.  With the bat comes a huge responsibility for the openers, so the question for me will be can they handle the pressure of playing at home.
 
3. Aaron Finch – To have Warner and Finch at the top of the order reminds me of Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.  This has been the backbone of Australia’s recent success as one of them has always come good to get Australia to some really big totals. 
 
4. Steve Smith – What an amazing period for Steve in recent times, quite remarkable really.  We have talked about responsibilities, and he has handled them with flying colours.  I would give him the responsibility to bat at 4, as he has done so well there in the Tests. 
 
5. George Bailey – Being captain during the tri-series will be an important momentum boost for the squad in the lead up to the World Cup.  His leadership has been excellent, and his batting has been equally impressive.  I would also like to point out his unselfishness at the end of innings, and the way he puts the team first – that doesn’t go unnoticed by me.
 
6. Shane Watson – His experience will be needed during the World Cup.  He’s an explosive batsman who can really get the momentum going.  Finding the right spot for him will a key point for the coaching staff.  He’s bowling well at the moment, he also can take the new ball if needed.
 
7. Glenn Maxwell– Over the last 12 months, he has played some excellent innings, but has frustrated the coaching staff by being a bit inconsistent.  He can play all the shots in the middle overs, but he needs to make sure he takes the right option.  His bowling has been improving with every game, as well as his fielding.
 
8. Mitchell Marsh – An exciting talent.  His batting is the key for me – he has a real presence at the crease and he fits absolutely perfectly in the Aussie middle order.  His bowling has come on over the last 12 months, he has improved a lot and also has the ability to get more movement or swing.
 
9. Brad Haddin – One last big effort for Hadds to win a World Cup would be outstanding personal result for him.  His experience and his valuable knowledge and input will be a huge benefit to the group to be able to go on and win the World Cup.  His power hitting at the end of the innings is also very valuable.
 
10. Mitchell Johnson– He hasn’t had the same impact with the white cricket ball as the red ball.  He’s a key member of the bowling unit, he’s ready to lead the attack, and, with his experience, he’s a go-to man for the captain.
 
11. Mitchell Starc – What a talented bowler he is, and still very young, which we keep forgetting.  He has the skills to blow a game apart, with the ability to swing the white new cricket ball.  He’s an excellent fielder and can throw the bat very effectively at the end of an innings.
 
12. Josh Hazelwood – A banker is what you need, and he’s also someone that you can rely on.  Of course, he would probably like a few more games before the World Cup, but he is ready, and he’s gained some valuable experience and confidence from the Test series against India. 
 
13. Pat Cummins– He’s starting to get some overs under his belt and along with this, his confidence is building nicely.  His pace is up there as well, and I believe he is someone you need in the squad.  He’s an exciting young talent and if he is going well then he has to be played.
 
14. James Faulkner – Quickly growing his reputation as a finisher, his power hitting in the slog overs have been very explosive.  I believe that since he started to put more value on his wicket and given himself a chance to get into his batting innings, has been when he’s been most effective.  From a bowling point of view, he has been the guy to bowl the tough overs in the power plays, and he is a captain’s dream because he wants to bowl as well.
 
15. Xavier Doherty – Well, he is Mr Reliable and from a captaincy point of view you know what you’re going to get from Xavier.  He is able to keep it tight on these flat wickets.  I don’t think the wickets are going to turn much and having the off spin and the left arm spin gives some balance to the squad.

Credit: www.icc-cricket.com & 2014 © ICC Development (International) Limited
Photo credit: Francois Nel-Getty-Images