Cricket News: Kirsten punts Australia to challenge for next year’s World Cup

Former Proteas coach, Gary Kirsten has tipped Australia to challenge for next year’s Cricket World Cup in England and Wales, despite being rocked by their recent ball tampering scandal.

The men from Down Under will, for the best part of the year, be without two of their best players in former captain, Steve Smith and his deputy, David Warner, who are serving one-year bans for their part in attempting to alter the condition of the ball, during the third Test against South Africa in Newlands in March.


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By the time the tournament kicks off on 30 May 2019, the duo would have seen out their suspensions and will, in all likelihood, walk straight into the limited overs side, and Kirsten believes the men in canary yellow should never be written off.

“You can never count Australia out of any big tournament,” Kirsten said.

“They are the most consistent team across big tournaments and I am sure they will be ready to compete at the next World Cup.”

Australia will go into the tournament as defending champions, after winning the 2015 edition which they hosted jointly with neighbours New Zealand.

The men from Down Under have been dominant in the World Cup over the last two decades, winning all but one of the five tournaments played in this period – the odd one out being India’s 2011 triumph on home soil, coached by Kirsten himself in his first major coaching gig.


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Upon his return home, Kirsten took up the reins at the Proteas, leading them to number one in the ICC Test Rankings, before resigning in 2013, citing family commitments.

Kirsten believes that his countrymen have enough X-factor players to finally shake off the “chokers” tag.

“South Africa has built a team where you have a number of match winners,” he said.

“AB (de Villiers) is one of them and he will be doing all he can to make sure he contributes as he always does.”

Kirsten finished his playing career as the most prolific South African batsman in history, in both Tests and One Day Internationals. He is currently working with Indian Premier League outfit, Royal Challengers Bangalore as batting coach.


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