Australian aspirations of winning the World Cup on home soil next spring are being hindered by a number of injuries to key players who would be likely to star for them.
The absence of cricketers like Michael Clarke and Shane Watson for warm-up ODI matches against Pakistan means that an inconsistent side is being selected in the build up to their first home World Cup in more than two decades.
If the Aussies are going to reclaim their crown from India and win the tournament for a record fifth time, they will need their best players to all be available.
Australia are currently sitting fourth in the ICC ODI rankings, having recently slipped from the summit during their triangular series with South Africa and Zimbabwe.
However, there are only two ranking points that separate India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Australians. Lifting the trophy at next year’s competition is likely to distance one of these sides at the top of the standings.
In addition to that prospect, the home advantage bestowed upon Australia and New Zealand will put the two southern hemisphere sides under even more pressure.
The last time that the prestigious tournament was hosted down under, the Aussies failed to make it to the knockout stages. With a format consisting of a round-robin list of fixtures where the top four progressed, the hosts missed out on the semi-finals by just a point.
They will be hoping they can at least make it that far this time around, but they are a weaker side without the use of their most experienced players.
Michael Clarke has suffered with injuries for a number of years now and they could culminate in him missing the biggest tournament of his career – a World Cup on home soil.
A hamstring injury curtailed his stay in Zimbabwe for the triangular series that also included South Africa, and the Australian skipper recently said that he may have to travel on tours ahead of his teammates so that he can better prepare his body.
The captain is unavailable for the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan, reducing the amount of time he can spend on the field before the World Cup gets underway next February.
This sort of preparation is not ideal for a skipper looking to live up to expectations and guide his country to glory.
Meanwhile Shane Watson is currently struggling with a calf injury that will prevent him from taking to the field against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
The 33-year-old adds quality to the side with both his batting and bowling ability, and would be a big miss if he wasn’t to fully recover in time for next year’s tournament.
All nations will experience injury worries of some form or another, but for Australia – a once unstoppable side – all of their best players will be required if they are to go all the way and win the 2015 Cricket World Cup.
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