Chappell: Expect Smith, Warner to walk straight back in for World Cup

'Australia need to address their problems facing spin' (6:43)

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell discusses the ODI teams woes on their current tour of England (6:43)

Were you shocked by Australia's recent performances in ODIs or did you see it coming?
Well, I thought it was going to be tough for the Australians in England but I didn't see it as bad as it has been. Obviously, the 481... that was a disastrous day and I expected that the bowling will struggle because you lost your three frontline bowlers. That was always going to be tough. But I didn't think it would be as one-sided as it has been.

Has the bowling been an issue in the absence of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins?
The bowling has been a problem but the batting hasn't held up its end of the bargain either. I think what's pretty concerning for Australia is their on-going problem with their spin bowling. They get away to some good starts but the opposition always seems to pull things back by using spin bowlers in the middle overs and Australia lose wickets or get bogged down. And that's an on-going problem. So that's a concern for Australia.

How will Australia overcome their weakness against wristspin?

In the World Cup, the problem will be relieved a little bit with Smith and Warner back. Smith, in particular, is a very good player of spin bowling. So that will give them a bit more strength in the middle order but once you show this weakness, the opposition sides are going to play on it and there are a lot of good spin bowlers at the moment.

Wristspinners, particularly in the short versions of the game, are having a lot of success. So, the Australians will have to address the problem and a lot of the players who have played recently have struggled with spin bowling. Maybe, they've got to start looking at different players.

"England have played so well against Australia in this current series and also back in Australia that I think they have dented Australia's confidence a bit"

Do you see Steven Smith and David Warner walking back to the team?

I'll be very surprised if Smith and Warner don't walk straight back into the Australian side. They're far away the two best batsmen. It doesn't matter virtually what version of the game you're playing, they're the two best players. And with their class - 12 months is a long time out of the game but they're going to be playing different types of cricket. So I'd expect them to walk straight back into the side for the World Cup, unless they're injured.

Why aren't Australia looking at Lyon in the shorter formats?
Lyon hasn't played [limited-overs cricket] a lot in the last couple of years but he was reasonably successful in the last game [at Chester-le-Street]. I think one of the problems is, in the shorter versions of the game, they're looking for players who can do everything. Therefore, Ashton Agar has been preferred because he's a pretty useful batsman and that's probably keeping Lyon out of the side. You need to get wickets in those middle overs from whatever bowler you're using. Nathan Lyon is a wicket-taker and I think he will probably get more opportunities in the short term.


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Australia have lost to New Zealand, England (both home and away) and India recently in addition to having a poor run in the Champions Trophy in 2017. How can they cope with this?
The Australians have been struggling of late and that will be a concern to them. But I think the England side have played so well against Australia in this current series and also back in Australia and I think they have dented Australia's confidence a bit. So, Australia will have to work on getting their confidence back. And the problem is, this close to the World Cup you want to have your side pretty well settled. Well, the Australians are far from settled and that will be a major concern.

What are the challenges for the captain Tim Paine and the coach Justin Langer leading up to the World Cup
At that time, Tim Paine was the right choice as captain and the problem for Australia is I'm not sure if they have other alternatives. So, if Tim Paine isn't able to hold his place in the ODI side, that's going to create a lot more uncertainty in this Australian team. So, they've got plenty of things to work on at the moment. And they have to start things working right for them in the next few months coming into the World Cup with so many uncertainties.

Are the challenges for Langer stiffer?
The challenge is for the players and the captain. The coach can't do much. You know he can talk and give a whole lot of advice but when you're out in the middle it's down to the captain and the other 10 players. So, what Langer does is not going to make much of a difference. The big difference is going to come from the captain and the players.

"I expect Australia to be hard to beat in the World Cup. But they need to start picking their form up pretty quickly"

Should Aaron Finch be batting at the top or in the middle order?
I don't think it's ever a good idea to weaken a strength to try and strengthen a weakness. And that's what Australia are doing by moving Finch down to the middle order. Finch is a very successful opener; he and Warner are a terrific combination. At the moment, he hasn't got Warner down at the other end, which is probably the more reason why he shouldn't have been moved out of the opening position in the first place. I see Finch as an opener, a very good opener, and that's where he got to stay.

Are Australia's batting plans more conservative compared to sides like England, India?
I wouldn't be saying Australia are making conservative starts. Travis Head got going pretty quickly the other day. It's never going to be a conservative start when Finch is at the top of the order and that's another reason why he shouldn't be moved out of the opening position. But when Australia are playing confidently and they have their full side together, they like to have a long batting line-up so that they can go hard right from the start and continue that right through the innings. But the problem they've had of late is the opposition has been able to check their progress in those middle overs with spin bowling and that's a major problem.

How strong will the side be when Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins return?
The batsmen will be expecting they will not have to chase that many even against the better sides like England. With Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood in the side, the scoring is going to be restricted, which immediately will take the pressure off batsmen who don't feel like they have to make 350-plus every time they go out. So, apart from the fact that those three bowlers are wicket-takers, restricting the opposition is going to relieve a bit of pressure for the batsmen.

How can Australia address various issues like spin, batting and captaincy?
It is very difficult to learn to play spin bowling at the age of 25-26. You've got to learn to play spin bowling when you're very young. And this has not just been a problem for Australia in the short versions of the game but, when they have toured India and Sri Lanka, they've had these problems in Test cricket as well. So it's something that needs to be addressed; it needs to be addressed at the lower levels. You have to have young guys coming through who've learnt to play spin bowling properly when they are at school and up through the club system. It's no good expecting guys to get through first-class and international cricket and they learn how to play spin bowling. It doesn't work that way.

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Has the JLT Cup, the domestic 50-over tournament in Australia, contributed to these problems?
The problem with the Australian system at the moment is not all created by Australia. The international scheduling makes life difficult. It has been hard to get the international players playing at the domestic level - whether in the 50-over competition or the Big Bash or in the Sheffield Shield. They don't get to play too many of those games and the young players coming through are missing, one, the challenge, and two, the opportunity to play against those internationals and that's how you get better as a young player; playing against guys who're better than you.

Do you think Finch can lead the limited-overs sides?
Finch is one of the options for captaincy, if Paine isn't up to holding his place in the 50-overs side. He is probably one of the few options Australia have got at the moment. Travis Head has done a bit of leadership for South Australia. He would perhaps be another option but I would think Finch is probably the No.1 option at the moment.

Wristspinners have had plenty of success of late. So, why isn't Adam Zampa in Australia's plans?
I am a little surprised that Zampa has disappeared from the side but there are a lot of different theories. Smaller English grounds, whereas in Australia they tend to play on the larger grounds. Wristpinners have been very, very successful, particularly in the 20-over game but also in the 50-over game. It has always been an important part of Australian cricket and they have to be look at one in this combination.

Billy Stanlake has been one of the positives for Australia in England?
The encouraging thing for Australia in this series is the fact Billy Stanlake has shown something as a pace bowler and also Jhye Richardson - I think he has got some potential as well. So with the amount of injuries, not just in Australia but in all countries, it's always nice to have a couple of guys coming in and fill the spots. That would be two of the positives: Stanlake and Richardson.

What's your XI for the World Cup next year?
You have five automatic changes straightaway. Warner and Smith come back in and three quick bowlers [Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins]. So, it's not hard to find blokes to drop when you have players of that quality coming back in. I expect Australia to be hard to beat in the World Cup. But they need to start picking their form up pretty quickly.

Confidence is down at the moment but it doesn't take much, particularly when you're an experienced international player, it doesn't take much success to get that confidence back. A victory in the last game will be a nice way to finish off this series. I'm not sure I see it coming at the moment but cricket is full of surprises.

Will the ball-tampering row in South Africa affect the Test side too?
Australia will have their work cut out to beat India at home. I have said a couple of times that this is India's best chance to beat Australia in Australia. And India probably have the best chance ever to beat England and Australia in successive series. So, Australia will have to play pretty well to beat India at home.