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Win boosts Australia’s World Cup prospects

Apart from the ODI series winners' trophy, Ricky Ponting will also return home with some confidence in the ability of his players to perform in Indian conditions, reports Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

cricket Updated: Nov 09, 2009 22:28 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Apart from the ODI series winners' trophy, Ricky Ponting will also return home with some confidence in the ability of his players to perform in Indian conditions.

The celebratory beer on Sunday evening might have tasted sweet at times because Australia will be back in the sub-continent to defend the World Cup in 2011.

As it is, a number of Australian players are getting exposed these days to the pitches, grounds, noise at the venues on match days and the climate of India thanks to T20 tournaments.

But the victory against the hosts who were at full strength, but for Zaheer Khan's absence, should give them something that the shortest form of the game will not. For starters, Australia now have a pool of around 20 players — with the experience of playing and doing well in India — who are expected to be around for two more years when the World Cup comes calling. There are 15 in the current squad and a few more who are back home nursing injuries.

All these players have now had some idea of what kind of adjustment the batsmen have to make like waiting for the ball for a fraction of a second more, what the length and line should ideally be to play a slog-sweep and how to overcome the disadvantage of inadequate footwork against spinners.

The bowlers too should be having a clearer idea of the length to bowl when there isn't much movement in the air or off the pitch, just how much they have to bend their back to extract bounce from unresponsive wickets and how effective the short ball can be when chances of making optimum use of other weapons are reduced.

Not without reason was Ponting beaming after being asked in Guwahati how beneficial this trip has been looking ahead to the World Cup.

“It's good to know you have so called younger guys who puff their chest out to be part of a successful team. We have unearthed a lot of young blokes who have shown a lot. This stands us in good stead for the future.

“We came here with a few negatives by way of injuries which kept increasing.

“But there has been a real, big positive and that is the kind of exposure these younger guys have got. I couldn't be any prouder of this group we have got together at the moment. It's a really positive thing for Australian cricket and the young guys.”

Besides the education, the Australians must also have gained psychologically. Winning always boosts confidence but to win from the position they did, means a belief that they can win without almost anybody — something that matters in big events like World Cups.

Apart from the lucrative T20 contracts, this is one more reason for them to remember India for.