Cricket World Cup: Which team will your shirt be on? A nation by nation guide to the Cricket World Cup - Australia

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The Independent Online
VERDICT: Of course, they are much fancied; of course, they have a tried and trusted method and team, a blend of one-day specialists and Test players who can take on the globe. Yet Australia are fallible. Under pressure, they can wilt in all forms of the game and in the one-day version it is more difficult to recover. They will bring a range of proven performers but it is not a wholly misguided assumption that they talk a better game than they play. Michael Bevan, for instance, is said to be the best one- day batsman around, but he can also be profoundly selfish. They are as capable as anybody of losing early wickets. Semi-finalists at least, at which stage England may have to stop them.

EMERGING HERO: Adam Dale. This fellow is some bowler. He is metronomic in length, swings it just enough, most often away, and gives the openers nothing at all to get tucked into safely. He distinguished himself at home this winter but there is more to come. They talk of Ian Austin, but Dale could have been the prototype bowler for England in the spring.

ACHILLES' HEEL: They have played too much cricket. From the Commonwealth Games via Pakistan, an Ashes series, another one-day series and a full tour of the Caribbean may have sapped their strength, if not their will.

HISTORIC POINT: Australia won the 1987 tournament, beating England in the final, but their best match that year was in the group stages. It was the closest in any World Cup as the Aussies beat India by one run in Madras with a ball left.

SILLY POINT: After Lillee and Marsh in England in 1981 and Waugh and Warne giving information to bookmakers 15 years later it may not be the wisest move to ask squad members who they are betting on.

RECORD: 1975 runners-up; 1979 1st round; 1983 1st round; 1987 winners; 1992 1st round; 1996 runners-up.

SQUAD: S R Waugh (capt), S K Warne, M G Bevan, A C Dale, D W Fleming, A C Gilchrist, B P Julian, S Lee, D S Lehmann, G D McGrath, T M Moody, D R Martyn, R T Ponting, P R Reiffel, M E Waugh.

ODDS: 100-30.

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