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World Cup 2011

Australia have an outside chance, says Steve Waugh

Nagraj Gollapudi in Mumbai

February 2, 2011

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

Six World Cup winning captains at an event in Mumbai, Mumbai, February 2, 2011
Six World Cup winning captains get together at an event in Mumbai © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Steve Waugh
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Australia

Steve Waugh, who led Australia to victory in the 1999 World Cup, has said Australia are in with a chance to defend their World Cup crown despite inconsistent results since the start of 2010. He claimed India and Sri Lanka will be strong contenders but didn't rule out Ricky Ponting's team. "Australia have an outside chance because they have matchwinners," Waugh said at an event in Mumbai. "I don't think this is a weaker Australian side.

"It's tough decision (to predict a winner). There are seven sides capable of winning but the side that has the momentum going into the quarter-final will be good. India are the slight favourites, as they know the conditions well and will have fantastic support. Sri Lanka have a very good chance too."

It might come as no surprise for Waugh to back the defending champions on a day when Australia pulled off their highest chase in ODIs, against England in Sydney. Australia had pocketed the seven-game series last week, and their dominant form in the ODIs after a humiliating Ashes drubbing only made Waugh confident about his countrymen. "Australia are still ranked No.1 in the world. In [Shaun] Tait, [Mitchell] Johnson and [Brett] Lee, they have the potential matchwinners. Their batsmen are also on top. Ricky is coming back from injury. Australian players are best when faced with adversity," Waugh said.

Austrlia's winning percentage in 2010 in ODIs had taken a beating: of the 25 matches played, spread over seven series, they won 16 and lost eight including the series defeat to Sri Lanka at home. But the return to form of seniors like Michael Clarke and Lee, along with the matchwinning capabilities of Shane Watson, makes Australia a dangerous opponent. Waugh, a two-time World Cup winner including one as captain in 1999, said Lee would be the lynchpin for Australia. Lee returned for the England series after sitting out from October 2009 due to lingering elbow injury. But Lee has not compromised on pace and so far is the highest wicket-taker in the series with 11 wickets at an average of 24 in the six matches. "Lee will be my impact player. He has amazing resilience, he is bowling back at 150kph and he loves touring India" Waugh said.

In the two World Cups held in the subcontinent (1987 and '96), Australia have won 12 of the 15 matches they've played.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 73 
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Posted by vipin on (February 5, 2011, 20:41 GMT)

i would love u c west indies playing in semi-final, three other teams shoud be India, Pakistan, Australia.... with Pakistan u never know what they reallly can do.... even Afridi can won world cup final single handed, or whole team can be out on 100 runs... west indies have gud chances if pollard, gayle and sarwan clicks..... Sri lanka have lil chance in making semi-finals or finals, coz dere is no jaysuriya, murali is not at his best, team now know how to play mendis, apart from Sangakara & Mahela, no other batsman is reliable and no pinch hitter in srilankan team... Australia & India have equal chance.... if sachin, sehwag, yuvraj and pathan clicks.... India is unbeatable

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 5, 2011, 18:27 GMT)

India,srilanka,England, Australia will make to semis in world cup 2011

Posted by Rajaram on (February 5, 2011, 0:08 GMT)

I will be surprised if India make it to the Semi-Finals.

Posted by joseph on (February 4, 2011, 13:10 GMT)

Watson, Haddin, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, White, Smith, Lee, Johnson, Hauritz, Tait. Awesome with the names but need performance. Lee could be a Pwerful weapon in bowling and watson in batting. A very very good side to compete with Ind and Sri.

Posted by vinod on (February 4, 2011, 12:56 GMT)

Most likely teams in the Semi- India, England, Australia the sure teams. The fourth could be Srilanka/South Africa/West Indies. Dont count on England's recent debacle in the ODI series in Australia. The conditions in Australia and India are entirely different. The Indian conditions suits the batting of Pietersen, Morgan, Trott . And Strauss could also come good. If Prior also can produce some good innings, England could very well bank on thier batting line up. In the bowling line up they have Swann (hope he will be fit) & Anderson who are really class bowlers. Aussies can bank on Watson, Hussey. No real back up for them. Haddin/Clarke not in touch. But if Punter is fit he can make a huge difference. India, of course have their home advantage. Players like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Yuvraj (if in form), Pathan can ruin any bowling attack. South Africa are chokers despite being a great unit. Sri Lanka have also their advantage in the sub continent.

Posted by Ankan on (February 4, 2011, 8:06 GMT)

Ossies are the best team in ODI. So ofcourse they are the favourites to win it. Why Waugh says its an outside chance is out of my radar.

I also feel Pakistan has a very good chance since they also will be playing in homelike conditions. Games in bangladesh & Srilanka (and even in India) I believe will churn out lot of support for Pakistan.

Posted by Andrew on (February 4, 2011, 3:23 GMT)

@mrgupta - agreed re: History - remember though we also won a W/C when we were near our lowest ebb (in India too). What history would SUGGEST is that Oz will be a force no matter how many injuries & no matter how badly we performed in the Ashes! In sport often it is not about who has the most skill - but who has the best mental toughness & given that other then the Ozzys only 1 other player currently playing in the world right now knows how to win a W/C from personal experience - Murali, I would say Oz are in with a Red Hot Shot!

Posted by Aiden on (February 3, 2011, 20:51 GMT)

@ indiaworldchamps2011 I just don't think India has the capacity to bowl well consistently with their current team. Also I think Australia has a good chance of winning and will be underrated. Just because their test team is down doesn't mean the their ODI team is bad. Just remember that even though India is no. 2 in ODIs Australia is no.1 by a big margin.

Posted by ABDUL ALEEM on (February 3, 2011, 20:26 GMT)

@ms.arjun why not Pakistan vs India........??????? in Finals....why to look for rivalry in other continents,,........

Posted by Lalith on (February 3, 2011, 19:35 GMT)

SL beat WI professionally. Aus beat Poms after highest chase. Those 2 are my favourite but SL may have the edge because of the conditions in SL/IND.

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