AUSTRALIA (WORLD RANKING 1) | india | Hindustan Times
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india Updated: Sep 05, 2006 20:54 IST

The Aussies have a reputation to salvage and a legacy to set. Having finished a disappointing fourth at the Champions Trophy and being thrashed 6-2 by Holland in the Azlan Shah final, the Kookaburras will be looking forward to get back to the top spot. With Olympic Gold, Commonwealth Games Gold and the 2005 Champions Trophy, the current world number one squad are left with only the World Cup to add to their cabinet.

Australia are not a team to be taken lightly. They may have been bereft of a title in recent months but that may well be the lull before the storm. They have an almost perfect balance of attack and defence. They have the strength and stamina to survive 70 minutes, the skills to beat any team in a one-on-one battle and, in Barry Dancer, a coach who knows his opponents as well as he does his own squad. On the flipside, their defence has been dodgy lately and they need to work on their midfield tackles.

Every player in this Aussie squad has proved himself and are a force to reckon with. In Jamie Dwyer and Travis Brooks they have a potent strike force, Troy Elder, Nathan Eglington and Brent Livermore not only distribute balls with precision but also score with accuracy and Mark Knowles and Aaron Hopkins are solid in defence. They also have the experience to supplement the skills and the only cause for concern would be a reworking of plans after Grant Schubert was ruled out with a knee injury days before the tournament.