MELBOURNE: Australia’s new assistant coach Ricky Ponting believes the inclusion of Steve Smith and David Warner will help the nation shrug off a woeful run of form in one-day cricket and transform them into genuine contenders at the World Cup in England.
Smith and Warner’s ball-tampering bans expire on March 29 and though the pair are struggling with elbow injuries, former captain Ponting said the presence of Australia’s two top batsmen in England would boost their hopes of back-to-back titles. “India and England are probably the two standout teams right now but if you add Warner and Smith back into that line-up, I think that team looks as strong as any,” Ponting told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
“With the inclusion of two of the best one-day players in the world and a lot of experience, all of a sudden the team starts looking a lot better. “I am not just saying that because I am one of the coaches, I actually said it when I wasn’t around the group. “Conditions in England will suit our style of play … I think Australia will be the one of the main contenders for sure.”