Away form worrying for 2019 WC: Howard

Team performance boss admits Australia 'need to evolve' after recent 50-over struggles abroad

Cricket Network

22 October 2017, 05:33 PM AEST

It's not panic stations just yet but Cricket Australia team performance chief Pat Howard admits Australia's poor recent form in 50-over cricket on foreign soil is an issue that needs addressing ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Australia's 1-4 series defeat in India last month continued a worrying trend for the reigning one-day international world champions, having won just one of their last 15 ODIs abroad.

It stands in stark contrast to their record on home turf, where Australia have won 25 of their last 27 completed ODIs dating back to November 2014.

"We need to evolve, it’s not crisis time … we’ve won four out of five last World Cups," Howard said.

"Australia have a huge legacy here and we have to make sure we’re very focused on making sure we turn up for these (games).

"We have some gaps there at the moment we need to address and we’re aware of that. 

"We’re very good at home, and that’s great and nice, but the next World Cup is not at home."

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While this year's Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom looked to be a dress rehearsal at some of the same venues that will host 2019 World Cup games, Australia had two of their three matches washed out and were eliminated in the group stage.

They'll have another chance to fine-tune their game-plan on English soil when they play a five-match ODI series there in June next year.

Questions over the make-up of their best XI linger though recent history would suggest Australia have ample time to figure out who will complement the likes of top ODI performers Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.

In the corresponding ODI series in India four years ago, 18 months before their victorious 2015 World Cup, Australia's XI for the final match featured just five of the 11 players who would carry them to victory in the World Cup final at the MCG.

Former captain Michael Clarke, the man who led Australia to that triumph in his ODI swansong, lamented Australia's dependence on their leading lights during the India series.

"It's hard to hear the fact that we are so reliant on a couple of players," Clarke was quoted as saying in India Today.

"In regards to facing spin bowling, I am not sure we are getting any better. I feel like the players are making the same mistake. 

"They are scared of getting out."

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Smith, Clarke's successor as ODI skipper, has seen Australia lose their mantle as the top-ranked ODI side on the International Cricket Council's rankings and have since slipped to third.

He has pointed to poor decision-making with the bat when the heat is on as a major issue.

"We're just not taking our words out in the middle and doing it with actions. We have glimpses of it and we play well in periods and then we just get ourselves in trouble," Smith told reporters after the fifth ODI in Nagpur earlier this month.

"Probably from poor decision-making under pressure, that's what I probably put it down to. That's something that we need to improve on because it's not good enough."

Howard too admitted batting was a concern and believes smaller grounds in the UK could make the next World Cup a high-scoring tournament.

"We’re happy to address that and deal with that … we have to chase down big scores because we expect there will be big scores in the World Cup in 2019," he said.

"We're thinking a couple of years ahead." 

2017-18 International Fixtures:

Magellan Ashes Series

First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets

ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets

Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets

T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21