ICC World Cup 2019: Dean Jones backs Australia to win the title

ICC World Cup 2019: Dean Jones backs Australia to win the title

"Belief is everything to winning World Cups."

Dean Jones
Dean Jones. (Photo by Jason Oxenham/Getty Images)

Ranked at No. 6 in the ICC’s ODI table, Australia are not among the favourites for many ahead of the World Cup due in England and Wales this year. For a generation, this is something unusual since the Aussies have won five of the eight World Cups played between 1987 and 2015 while finishing runners-up in one. However, former Australian batsman, Dean Jones feels that the Yellow Jerseys can still win their sixth world title this year provided they make a few improvements in some key areas like top-order batting and death bowling.

Australia are going through one of their leanest phases in cricket at the moment. Their last bilateral series victory came against Pakistan at home in 2016-17 while their last multilateral series win came in the West Indies in 2016. Jones, a member of the WC-winning team in 1987, said the side had seen a poor run in the run-up to the tournament that year too but delivered when it mattered.

Likewise, he believes the current team can do the same. Australia defeated defending champions India by one run in their first match in the 1987 edition and then beat England by just seven runs to lift their inaugural world title. Allan Border was their captain.

Jones emphasises on self-belief

“We have to firmly believe we can win,” Jones wrote in a column for The Age. “And that’s the kicker. Belief is everything to winning World Cups. The right attitude is that no matter what the opposition has in store for us, we have an answer.”

Jones, 57, who averaged 44-plus in ODIs, said the Aussies were the worst-ranked team to win the WC in 1987, losing five games before the tournament began and the players were convinced that they were getting better with each game and had clarity about each other’s role in the team.

The current scenario is something similar. Australia have won just three games in the 50-overs format since the beginning of 2018 and lost 13 and that included a 0-5 loss in England last year. They lost two back-to-back home series to South Africa and India recently, both by identical margins of 1-2.

“Our best option (for the top-order) is Aaron Finch, David Warner, Shaun Marsh and Steve Smith. These four men can win games off their own bat,” Jones wrote. Although the year-long ban on Smith and Warner will be over next month, yet their current injury makes them uncertain for the World Cup.

In 1992, however, Australia were in great form and considered favourites to win the WC at home under Border again but they failed to make it to the semi-finals. That was the only other WC that Jones played. Jones also said that Australia can win the Ashes that follows the WC even though they haven’t won it away since 2001.

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