World Cup team profile: Australia

2015 World Cup

World Cup history

The co-hosts this year have the most World Cup titles under their belt, four to be precise, and their last triumph came in 2007. That was their third title in a row, when Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting still dominated.

Their first came in 1987 in India, the first time the tournament was played outside England, and Allan Border's men still wore white in the format.

The Aussies, who will be playing in their canary yellow gear this time, are the favourites, in large part because of their dominance at home. They have big hitters up front, superb finishers in Smith an Faulkner, and the pace of the Mitchells Johnson, Starc and Marsh.

Best finish: Winners (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007)

Squad: Michael Clarke (capt), George Bailey (vice-capt), Pat Cummins, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner, Shane Watson.

Key Batsman: Steven Smith is the man of the hour for the hosts, fresh from his Allan Border Medal win and a fantastic home summer. He scored Test runs, ODI runs, strings of big scores, and became the only man to make a ton on Test and ODI captaincy debuts. Getting him out early will be half the battle won for the bowlers.

Key Bowler: While it's tempting to say Johnson, we're going to go with Mitch Starc. He had a superb tri-series against England and India, highlighted by a six-fer in Melbourne. He averages a touch over 20 with the ball in ODIs, and has been impressive with the white ball in recent months.

Drinks carrier: Very tricky, as the Aussies don't really have passengers. One imagines spinner Xavier Doherty could be sidelined depending on the pitch, while the pacemen will probably be rotated as all are in form. The selectors have an strange habit of leaving James Faulkner out though.

Kit colour: Very bright yellow, with the Southern Cross on the front.

Injury concerns: Michael Clarke is the most obvious here, as he has until 21 February, the game against Bangladesh, to prove his fitness. He's been out of action since early December, and has had hamstring surgery, so all eyes will be on him. If he's not fit, Smith will hold on to the captaincy, one imagines.

Fixtures

Sat Feb 14 – Australia v England at the MCG
Sat Feb 21 – Australia v Bangladesh at the Gabba
Sat Feb 28 – New Zealand v Australia at Eden Park
Wed Mar 4 – Australia v Afghanistan at the WACA
Sun Mar 8 – Australia v Sri Lanka at the SCG
Sat Mar 14 – Australia v Scotland at the Bellerive Oval

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