World Cup 2019

Aussie cricket's depth unsurpassed: Ponting

Ex-skipper backs Australia to turn around poor ODI form in time for next year's World Cup in the UK

Louis Cameron

11 July 2018, 04:10 PM

Australia are in the midst of their worst ever one-day international streak, but legendary former captain Ricky Ponting insists they will be a force at next year's World Cup.

Led by first-time ODI skipper Tim Paine and new coach Justin Langer, Australia were last month handed a 5-0 drubbing by world No.1 ODI side England in the United Kingdom, the venue for next year's showpiece event.

Australia, the reigning one-day world champions, have now lost 16 of their past 18 ODIs (the worst 18-game stretch in their 47-year ODI history) and have lost their four most recent bilateral 50-over series (the first time they have ever lost that many series on the trot).

But Ponting, a three-time World Cup winner and twice as captain, boldly asserted Australia will be able to match it with the best when they begin their title defence in June next year.

"One thing I do know is we've got still the best depth of any cricket nation in the world and I will continue to say that," the 43-year-old said at a Channel Seven promotional event. "We'll keep producing great players. 

"It's only 12 months away from the next one-day World Cup. The last five games - (while) the results did not quite go our way, it gave an opportunity for some younger guys to get some games under their belts. 

"There are 16 one-dayers to be played between now and the next World Cup. 

"I'll guarantee you when you put the Australian group of 15 players down on a sheet of paper, that group will line up as good as any other team in the world."

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Australia will host both South Africa and India for three-match ODI series this summer, while the International Cricket Council's Future Tours Programme has the Aussies down for five-ODI tours of both India and Pakistan in February and March next year.

Fitness pending, at least four first-choice players missing from the England whitewash due to injury – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitch Marsh – look set to resume their places for those forthcoming one-dayers at home.

But banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner will not. Their suspensions from the Cape Town ball tampering incident run through to late March, which may leave them short of 50-over match practice before the World Cup.

It leaves a lot of question marks for Australia's limited-overs brains trust, yet Ponting is confident Langer is creating a dressing room culture that players will thrive in during the coming years. 

"The environment Justin Langer will create around that team will be a place that everyone will just get better, they'll just improve, they'll love the environment," said Ponting, who will commentate for Channel Seven this summer.

"I'm really excited about what the future holds not just right now but for the next 20 years. We are a passionate cricket nation that keeps producing good players. 

"We've got some seriously good players that at their best will challenge any team in the world in any conditions."

After helping out as an assistant to Langer during the England ODI series, Ponting also confirmed on Tuesday he plans to continue working with Australia's limited-overs sides when time permits.