Mitchell Starc, the Australia fast bowler, hailed the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup as "the pinnacle" of the one-day game, and said he was confident of Australia's chances in England and Wales later this year.
Starc, who was named in Australia's 15-member squad, is gearing up for his second World Cup appearance in a career that's spanned nine years so far. He was rather unequivocal in stating that he viewed the World Cup as the pinnacle of the ODI format.
"In the one-day game, it's the pinnacle, the World Cup. No matter where it is, or who's playing. It's the pinnacle of the game in one-day cricket," said the 29-year-old.
Starc also spoke highly about the 2015 World Cup, when Australia won the title for the fifth time. Prior to that tournament, Australia had played a tri-series against England and India, and Starc said it offered them good practice ahead of the big event.
"It was such a special six weeks, it was probably longer than that for us last time around, where we grouped for such a long time. That tri-seies before the World Cup was sort of where we put our foot down to prepare for the World Cup, [and worked towards] the team we wanted to be and how we wanted to play in the World Cup coming up."
Starc was the highest wicket-taker in the 2015 edition, with 22 wickets in eight matches at an economy of just 3.50. He is now hoping to emulate the same kind of success over the next few months.
The great Ricky Ponting discusses Australia's 'big three' quicks as well as their back-ups with a view to the World Cup and Ashes campaigns pic.twitter.com/QYYMJA7kkA— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) April 11, 2019
"It's going to be a great tournament," he said. "It's at tournament play where it shows how good a team is. You want to be playing your best cricket at the end. You want to make the finals first, but you want to keep your best cricket for the end. It's a bit different than playing the same team in a few games [of a] series."
Australia will carry a strong pace arsenal to England and Wales that include the likes of Pat Cummins, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile, besides Starc. He is certain that the team has the ability to beat England in England and even go on to win the Ashes.
"If we can beat England in England, win a World cup in England, and then win the Ashes in England, there is not too much that an Englishman or woman can say to knock you down.
You want to make the finals for this. But you want to keep your best cricket for the end.
Being a fast bowler, injuries have been a big part of Starc's career. He recently missed the five-match ODI series in India, which the visitors won 3-2, but hopes his body can hold up long enough for him to keep performing.
"Hopefully my body lasts a few more years, and I can get a few more wickets along the way for the group," said Starc. "[I'm] just loving being a part of this group of guys and this challenge going forward. To do it with some of my best mates is pretty special as well."
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