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Australia top contenders on home soil

By The Assam Tribune
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ADELAIDE, Feb 4 (IANS): Australia�s rich pedigree of being the most successful team at the World Cup with four titles makes them a strong contender to reclaim cricket�s showpiece trophy on home soil.

They failed to qualify for the knock-out phase in 1992, when they co-hosted the event with New Zealand for the first time, and are under pressure to win on their home pitches, starting February 14.

But, since the trans-Tasman neighbours first co-hosted the event, the situation has transformed massively for Australia.

They have built up a reputation of near invincibility at home, backed by ruthless form of formidable teams under the leadership of several strong individuals.

Their supreme technical skills and superior confidence have enthused an aura that few teams in world cricket have been successful in dismantling.

They have maintained that stronghold over the years, barring occasional hiccups, and enter the quadrennial competition as the World�s No.1 One-Day International (ODI) team.

Handling the considerable pressure of playing at home infront of an expectant crowd could be the key to their chances of winning.

Darren Lehmann�s side maintained its position at the top of the ODI team rankings following its undefeated performance in the tri-series against England and India recently.

While Australia�s on-field form might not be much of a botheration, it is their composition away from it that has been a source of constant scrutiny.

Their build-up to this edition has been similar to their preparation in the 2011 version of the tournament in India, when then captain Ricky Ponting�s leadership was under constant speculation.

The co-hosts have been distracted by reports of a rift between injured regular captain Michael Clarke, his teammates and the country�s cricket governing body - Cricket Australia (CA).

Recovering from a hamstring surgery, Clarke has been given a deadline by the selectors to be fit in time for the team�s second group match against Bangladesh Feb 21. But experts have questioned his place in a batting line-up already loaded with dazzling stroke-makers.

To add to the confusion, vice-captain George Bailey, who took over the captaincy reins in the tri-series due to Clarke�s absence is under pressure to keep his spot in the starting XI.

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Australia top contenders on home soil

ADELAIDE, Feb 4 (IANS): Australia�s rich pedigree of being the most successful team at the World Cup with four titles makes them a strong contender to reclaim cricket�s showpiece trophy on home soil.

They failed to qualify for the knock-out phase in 1992, when they co-hosted the event with New Zealand for the first time, and are under pressure to win on their home pitches, starting February 14.

But, since the trans-Tasman neighbours first co-hosted the event, the situation has transformed massively for Australia.

They have built up a reputation of near invincibility at home, backed by ruthless form of formidable teams under the leadership of several strong individuals.

Their supreme technical skills and superior confidence have enthused an aura that few teams in world cricket have been successful in dismantling.

They have maintained that stronghold over the years, barring occasional hiccups, and enter the quadrennial competition as the World�s No.1 One-Day International (ODI) team.

Handling the considerable pressure of playing at home infront of an expectant crowd could be the key to their chances of winning.

Darren Lehmann�s side maintained its position at the top of the ODI team rankings following its undefeated performance in the tri-series against England and India recently.

While Australia�s on-field form might not be much of a botheration, it is their composition away from it that has been a source of constant scrutiny.

Their build-up to this edition has been similar to their preparation in the 2011 version of the tournament in India, when then captain Ricky Ponting�s leadership was under constant speculation.

The co-hosts have been distracted by reports of a rift between injured regular captain Michael Clarke, his teammates and the country�s cricket governing body - Cricket Australia (CA).

Recovering from a hamstring surgery, Clarke has been given a deadline by the selectors to be fit in time for the team�s second group match against Bangladesh Feb 21. But experts have questioned his place in a batting line-up already loaded with dazzling stroke-makers.

To add to the confusion, vice-captain George Bailey, who took over the captaincy reins in the tri-series due to Clarke�s absence is under pressure to keep his spot in the starting XI.