Former Australia cricketer Adam Gilchrist on Tuesday picked the defending champions as favourites to lift the upcoming World Cup. However, after picking his country as a probable candidate to win the showpiece event, the former wicketkeeper-batsman also predicted that hosts England will crash out in the semi-finals.
Speaking at Fox Cricket’s World Cup launch, Gilchrist said that the current Australian squad look as competitive as others and have built up the momentum in ODI cricket after leaving the Australian shores.
However, soon after picking Australia as the favourites the interview was interrupted by a loud noise possibly a demolition in the background. Taking note of the interruption, Gilchrist jokingly compared the demolition with England crashing out in the semi-finals.
cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) 21 May 2019
In a 45 seconds video shared on the official Twitter handle of Cricket Australia, Gilchrist can be heard saying, "That was a proper demolition. That was England in the semis."
After struggling for a better part of last year, Australia will go into the World Cup high on confidence after winning consecutive ODI series away from home, against India and Pakistan. The team’s spirit has been further boosted with the return of Steve Smith and David Warner in the international circuit after serving their 12-months suspension, as the duo adds more depth in their batting unit.
Speaking on Australia’s chances at the World Cup, Gilchrist said, "Australia. Certainly, on paper, they’re as competitive as anyone with the names that are there now and the momentum they built up in the one-day format once they left Australian shores. Obviously, there’s confidence there. I just like what I’m seeing and five out of 12 World Cups have come this way so I can’t see any reason why we can’t win another one."
"I always thought once they got their full squad at full strength they were always going to be as competitive as anyone. At the start of last Australia summer, you would have said they were a long way off but there was always a lot to happen between then and the start of the World Cup. The fact that we won five doesn’t guarantee these guys anything. It’s more just the recent results, the momentum that’s been built up and the names that are on the paper. It’s a very, very strong, well-balanced team. And I think a lot of shoots are forming from the seeds of leadership Justin Langer planted as well and I think they’re coming together really nicely."
England, on the other hand, are the number one side in ODIs and will be high on confidence after claiming a 4-0 clean sweep over Pakistan in the recently-concluded series. During the interaction, Gilchrist also mentioned that expectations will be high from the hosts to deliver and stated that the current English squad looks balanced.
However, there is a possibility that after getting through to the semis, England might crumble under the pressure of a knockout game. He also compared the record of Australia with England and South Africa at knockout stages and said that while the defending champions enjoy a good run in must-win clashes, the other two teams have not done well.
"The expectation on them is going to be huge and they’re a very, very good one-day team at the moment and very composed and balanced. The hype is going to grow and grow and I’m expecting they’ll get through to the semis but then it’s just a knockout game and that’s the fear isn’t it?"
"Historically, Australia hasn’t really feared that part of it. Eventually, in any tournament, you get to the knockout stage and fortunately, that’s boded well for us whereas for South Africa and England it hasn’t gone so well."