Australia have enjoyed great success in one-day internationals recently, defeating India in India and then going on to clean-sweep Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. But Brendon Julian is of the opinion that those victories won't count for much at the World Cup.
According to him, Australia are not among the top contenders this time around but could still go on to win the title, especially with David Warner and Steve Smith back in the side. He reserved special praise for Warner, whom he predicts to win the Player of the Tournament award.
"There’s no doubt this team has the talent to win the World Cup, but they have to play well and they’ll have to take their chances," Julian wrote in his column on playersvoice.com.au.
"They’re not the in-form side coming into the tournament. I would rank them about fourth. But what they do have is a couple of X factor guys coming back in the side. Warner is my guy – I think he’ll be player of the tournament. He will have a steely determination to play well, to score runs, and just rise above it."
Warner adds great value to any team, and he has a fantastic record for Australia not just in ODIs but also in the other two formats. But he's built his reputation as an opening batsman, and it's going to be a tough call to accommodate him at the top of the order with Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja having enjoyed great success in those positions more recently. Julian feels Australia should avoid disturbing that combination and instead slot Warner in at three.
"In terms of the batting order, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja have to open. That’s been the only stable combination in the order in the past six months. I think Warner should bat three."
The World Cup is set to get underway on 30 May in England and Wales, and Australia play their first match on 1 June against Afghanistan.