Shane Warne: Australia can't win World Cup without Michael Clarke
Australian cricket great Shane Warne has expressed concerns that Australia cannot win the upcoming 2015 Cricket World Cup at home without the presence of captain Michael Clarke in the team. Clarke played his first competitive match – since suffering a hamstring injury during the first Test against India at Adelaide in December – on Saturday.
Warne wants Bailey to make way for Clarke
The 33-year-old represented his club side Western Suburbs against Gordon and scored a patient half-century in the match. He has been given a deadline of February 21 to recover completely from the injury.
“I don’t think Australia can win the World Cup without Clarke,” Warne told Sky Sports. “Australia were in disarray just over 12 months ago but under his captaincy, they won the Ashes 5-0 and then beat South Africa in South Africa.”
In the absence of Clarke, George Bailey has been leading the side in ODI cricket and even led the team to a win in the Carlton Mid ODI tri-series, which ended on Sunday. However, Warne believes that the Australian selectors should take a brave decision and drop the 32-year-old Bailey to fit Clarke in the starting line-up.
“We all admire Clarke’s imagination and flair as a captain so I would get him in for that first game if he proves his fitness and say: ‘This is our side, let’s get out and play’. Good bowlers can bowl at Bailey and make him unable to hurt you, so if Clarke is fit, he drops out, as the rest of the top five – David Warner, Aaron Finch, Shane Watson and Steve Smith – picks itself,” the 1999 World Cup-winner said.
Warne singles out Starc as key player
The 45-year-old further said that he couldn't see too many weaknesses in the current Australian team and added that left-arm seamer Mitchell Starc would have to play an important role in the marquee event if the hosts are to do well. The 25-year-old was adjudged the player of the Carlton Mid tri-series for picking up 12 wickets in 5 matches that included a spell of 6 for 43 against India at Melbourne.
“I can’t really think of too many weaknesses in the Australia side.
“Starc will be key. He has really played well in the one-dayers, making the white ball talk, and his death bowling is pretty good. I don’t think Australia would like to play three left-armers in James Faulkner, Starc and Mitchell Johnson, but with the form at the moment they may have to,” Warne added.