Australian captain Ricky Ponting says the team is ready to finally win the Champions Trophy.
In an interview with HT, Ponting says familiarity with the conditions in India and the will to do well will be a huge driving force for them, and never winning the event means Australia's hunger is intense.
Australia have never won the Champions Trophy, which is rather a surprise…
Yes, it is really surprising that though we have won tournaments all over the world, we have never won the Champions Trophy. We are all surprised. We have discussed this a lot among ourselves and find no particular reason for our failure in the event.
How do you evaluate your chances this time?
Hopefully, the wheel of fortune will turn this time and we would be able to win the title. If nothing, we should be able to reach the final at least.
What about the chances of other teams?
There are five or six good teams that can win this time. We are hopeful that we would make fewer mistakes than the others and win the trophy. Your recent win in the Malaysia tri-series must have boosted your confidence… The new season started with our win in Malaysia. We got excellent practice there, playing against the West Indies and India and winning. We won the final convincingly, too, and the win will certainly boost our confidence.
Were you happy with the experimentation in your team?
Yes, we were… and it worked out pretty well.
Can you elaborate on this?
We are still a very good bunch of cricketers, and we will still try to improve in all the departments of the game. Actually, we had rigorous training sessions in the conditioning camp before we came to Malaysia. We tried new faces in Malaysia and are hopeful about them.
Mitchell Johnson is a very exciting prospect. Glenn McGrath is back and Brett Lee is fit. I think Lee is the best one-day bowler in the world right now. And Shane Watson is an excellent allrounder.
It's a good, balanced side, very confident and motivated. And we all know that we are yet to win the Champions Trophy, so there is that extra motivation.
What are Matthew Hayden's chances of coming back to the one-day squad?
He did quite well in Malaysia, and the doors are still open for him.
In which areas of the game do you need to improve?
I think we have played really well in Malaysia, considering that it was the first tournament of the season. However, we would like to fine-tune all the departments of the game.
In the four previous editions of the Champions Trophy, Australia have reached the semifinals just twice.
Yes, entering the semis twice out of four is a good performance - but not for the Australians, who want to be the champions every time they play in a tournament. I sincerely hope we do well in India because we are quite ac customed to the wickets there.