Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Legendary Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne believes that the Baggy Greens cannot “win the World Cup without” captain Michael Clarke.
Clarke is currently in a race against time to fully recover from having his hamstring surgically repaired after he tore it during the first Test against India in Adelaide.
However, Clarke scored 51 while playing for Western Suburbs in their grade cricket match against Gordon at the Chatswood Oval in Sydney this weekend.
He is also set to represent a Cricket Australia XI in a practice match against Bangladesh in Brisbane on Thursday.
“I don’t think Australia can win the World Cup without Clarke,” Warne said. “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.
“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 [stand-in skipper] George Bailey and make him unable to hurt you, so I would say 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.”
Warne also feels that left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Starc will play a crucial role for Australia during the World Cup after he took 12 wickets at a brilliant average of 16.33 in the recently concluded ODI tri-series.
“Starc will be key,” Warne said. “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 Johnson but with the form at the moment they may have to.”