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Finch embraces Aust Cup underdog status

Australia's World Cup campaign starts in three months and captain Aaron Finch knows that many pundits don't believe his team is a serious contender.

Finch embraces Aust Cup underdog status

Australia's World Cup campaign starts in three months and captain Aaron Finch knows that many pundits don't believe his team is a serious contender.

Head coach JUSTIN LANGER looks on during the International Twenty20 match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia.
Head coach JUSTIN LANGER looks on during the International Twenty20 match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Adelaide Oval in Adelaide, Australia. Picture:Photo by Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

More accustomed to beginning a World Cup with the greatest of expectations, Australia are embracing underdog status as they plot a precarious path to England.

Australia's World Cup defence officially starts on June 1, when they face Afghanistan in Bristol, but coach Justin Langer, captain Aaron Finch and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns have much to do before that fixture.


The deadline for submitting World Cup squads is April 23.

The reintegration of suspended superstars Steve Smith and David Warner, who will be part of the 15-man squad if fit, has dominated discussion but the simple fact is that few players have sealed their spot.

Few pundits are predicting Australia, who have won just four of their past 24 ODIs, to do much damage at the tournament.

That has never been the case throughout the life of Aaron Finch, who was a member of the XI that defeated New Zealand in the 2015 final at a sold-out MCG, but suits the captain just fine.

"Nobody is giving us a sniff," Finch said.

"We know that nobody has really given us a chance at all. It's also a nice place to be in, we can go about our business in the background.

"We haven't played our best cricket for the last couple of years in particular, so it's probably justified in one regard.

"But we've been improving and making progress ... it's all been tracking in the right direction."

England are the favourites, a result of their extraordinary dominance in recent years, while India are widely tipped to be the hosts' greatest challenge.

Finch suggested the 50-over tournament is far more than than most people think.

"Especially in the format that it's going to be in, you play everyone once then the top four play off," he said.

Australia are in India for a five-match ODI series before they travel to the UAE for another five-match ODI series, against Pakistan.

A training camp in early May in Brisbane, set to feature some tune-ups against New Zealand, will then be their final chance for match practice before they depart for England.

Vice-captain Pat Cummins is confident the schedule will provide the Australians ideal preparation for the World Cup.

"The conditions here are obviously going to be different compared to the World Cup," Cummins said.

"But there's a lot of games in the World Cup ... by the end of it the wickets might be a bit more tired and might spin a bit more like these Indian wickets.

"Challenging yourself against the world's best batsmen and seeing what works for us in these conditions. I think it'll be pretty transferable."

AAP


AAP




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