Cricket Australia, India ODI result, World Cup 2019: Allan Border on Steve Smith, David Warner returns, Ian Healy
There may no longer be room left in Australia’s ODI XI for Steve Smith and David Warner after the team claimed its “best ever” series win in the format, cricket legend Allan Border says.
The 1987 World Cup winner cannot recall a better ODI series triumph than Australia’s on Thursday morning, when it completed a miracle comeback from 2-0 down to beat India in India for the first time since 2009.
A horrific streak of six-consecutive bilateral ODI series losses had many counting down the days left on Smith and Warner’s ball-tampering suspensions, begging for them to return to the side as soon as possible in the hunt for wins.
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“Given the success of the side at the moment, if they continue to play good cricket against Pakistan with the squad they have at the moment, you’d probably be tempted to keep that lot as is,” Border told foxsports.com.au about Australia’s current ODI squad, which now plays a five-match series against Pakistan in the UAE.
“I think they (Smith and Warner) come back into the squad, but whether they play or not is not a done deal. They need to be playing better than the incumbents to be automatic selections.”
Former Australia wicketkeeper Healy is of the same thought, saying the performances of fringe players – like Peter Handscomb and Ashton Turner – have made Smith and Warner no longer certain picks.
“Handscomb’s doing that job in the middle order, Ashton Turner has already pushed out Shaun Marsh, so there’s not a whole lot of room, is there?” Healy told foxsports.com.au.
“And Khawaja is doing a magnificent job in the place of Warner, so they’re not definitely coming back into the XI.
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“Their IPL form and friendly form before the World Cup – if they get chances – will all be taken into consideration.”
Both Queensland legends projected strong performances from Australia at the World Cup after the historic win, which marked the first time the nation had won an ODI series from 2-0 down.
“It’s probably our best ever series win when you think about it,” Border said.
“Playing away, playing against India; one of the favourite sides moving into a World Cup, you’re 2-0 down – to turn it around and win the series is quite phenomenal.
“I have to say it’s probably one of our best ever. I know it’s a big call but I’m trying to think of another one-day series where we’ve come back from that deficit. It’s been quite incredible.”
Healy credited a shift in Australia’s brand of ODI cricket for the upturn in results.
Australia’s ODI team at the start of the summer featured big hitters Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short alongside Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch.
It’s now clear that set-up suffered by neglecting the more nuanced approaches of Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb, who starred in the five-match series.
Healy is now confident those problems are being addressed, and believes Australia will at least finish in the top four at the World Cup.
“I’ve always rated our chances very highly, we’ll be in the top four and we’re capable of winning and always have been,” Healy said.
“We need continued patience with the ball, and energetic, low-risk batting. And we’re getting there.
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“I’m happy to tip us to win (the World Cup) but England deserve to be favourite, then there’s India, South Africa, Pakistan, New Zealand for mine who can do it. The West Indies will enjoy knocking a few off as well.”
Border is similarly upbeat about Australia’s chances, saying: “I always thought that we are the sort of country that oppositions don’t want to play in the semi-finals.
“If we make it, it means ‘look out’, because we know how to get the job done in World Cups.
“I always thought we had a good chance regardless of previous results. Once you get in those tournaments, you can get some momentum going.
“The other sides will be looking at Australia and going ‘they’re back’ and start to worry a little bit more than they did six months ago.”
Originally published as Border: Why ‘best ever’ series win could keep Smith, Warner out