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World Cup 2019: Gary Kirsten thinks Australia are still the contenders

Steve Smith and David Warner might not play the World Cup next year.

South Africa Gary Kirsten
Gary Kirsten. (Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)

Australian cricket is in the middle of a really tough time and things have been hot for the past couple of months. The infamous ball-tampering debacle has inflicted a massive dent into their cricket. The authorities and the players are in with a stern challenge to turn their fortunes around. David Warner and Steve Smith, who have been stalwarts of the team, were slapped with a one-year ban.

They will be missing a lot of cricketing action in the next 12 months and amidst all that, the schedule for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales was recently announced. Australia are the defending champions, and they might as well enter the competition without two of their most reliable players. Moreover, Smith can’t return as the skipper before two years, which is a body blow for the Aussies, bearing in mind their quest to defend the title next year.

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A competitive event

However, Gary Kirsten has touted them to be strong contenders despite the blows. “You can never count Australia out of any big tournament. They are the most consistent team across big tournaments and I am sure they will be ready to compete at the next World Cup. All the teams have got closer and it really is open for any team to win the big tournaments,” he was quoted as saying in Hindustan Times.

The tournament will consist of the 10 top teams and hence, the chances of one-sided games will reduce by a significant margin. Kirsten, during his chat, also hailed England for the unflinching approach they have employed over the past couple of years. Meanwhile, he also hasn’t ruled South Africa out to win the tournament.

“England are playing an aggressive and exciting brand of cricket and it has certainly put them in a great position to contend in all tournaments. South Africa has built a team where you have a number of match winners. AB is one of them and he will be doing all he can to make sure he contributes as he always does,” Kirsten added.

Here is all you need to know about the ball-tampering saga:

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