“For first time players, my advice is they should focus on their natural game,” says Jayasuriya
Australia’s double World Cup winner Steve Waugh has urged the sides to prepare for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand by playing quality one-day cricket in the lead up to ICC’s flagship event.
Waugh was a key all-rounder in the champion Australia side of the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987, while he was captain in1999 as it won the title for the second time.
“The teams need to play as much quality one-day cricket as they can in the six month period leading up to the event. The key to the tournament will be gathering momentum at the right time,” he said.
In the lead up period to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Australia is scheduled to host South Africa for five ODIs and three T20Is in November, and will then host India for four Tests from the beginning of December before playing in a three-nation tournament also featuring India and England in January 2015, apart from the home side themselves.
In the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, Australia finished fifth on the points table with four wins and as many defeats. Waugh had a decent tournament scoring 187 runs at an average of 26.71 and he also picked up eight wickets at an average of 34.62 with his medium-pace.
Reflecting on the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, where the home side entered as defending champion, Waugh said Australia couldn’t peak at the right time.
“It was fantastic for the country to host the World Cup, and was great to be a part of it, but ultimately extremely disappointing from the team’s point of view,” said Waugh, who played his last ODI match in 2002 after appearing in 325 matches in which he scored7,569 runs and took 195 wickets.
“Looking back, our preparation was not good enough - we had come from playing first-class cricket straight into playing one-day cricket, which was not ideal. At the time, we felt like we had some momentum, we were approaching top form and were about to peak, but it just didn't happen for us.
“The passion of the home support was great and hugely encouraging, but in some ways it does put more pressure on the home team.”
For the 2015 event, Australia is in Pool A along with England, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand Qualifier 2 and Qualifier 3, and will launch its campaign against England in Melbourne on the opening day of the tournament, 14 February. Australia will play all its matches in its backyard except the 28 February match against New Zealand for which it will travel to Auckland.
Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya, who played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 against Waugh, said the experience of playing in in Australia and New Zealand was different to any other country. “Australia has a passion for cricket and there is a major following for the sport. The organisation is really professional and it’s also challenging to play in Australia.”
Jayasuriya said the side that peaks at the right time will win the tournament and advised the youngsters appearing in the World Cup for the first time, not to get overawed by the situation.
“A comprehensive batting, bowling and fielding effort by any team (is essential), but most importantly the team that peaks at the right time will win the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
“For first time players, my view is that without focusing too much on the pressures of the World Cup they should focus on their natural game.”
Sri Lanka is also in Pool A along with England, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand Qualifier 2 and Qualifier 3. It will take on co-host New Zealand in the tournament opener in Christchurch on 14 February.
Australia’s and Sri Lanka’s group stage matches in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015:
Sat 14 Feb – v England, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne (d/n)
Sat 21 Feb – v Bangladesh, GABBA, Brisbane (d/n)
Sat 28 Feb – v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland (d/n)
Wed 4 Mar – v Qualifier 2, WACA, Perth (d/n)
Sun 8 Mar – v Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney (d/n)
Sat 14 Mar – v Qualifier 3, Bellerive Oval, Hobart (d/n)
Sat 14 Feb – v New Zealand, Hagley Oval, Christchurch (d)
Sun 22 Feb – v Qualifier 2, University Oval, Dunedin (d)
Thurs 26 Feb – v Bangladesh, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne (d/n)
Sun 1 Mar – v England, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (d)
Sun 8 Mar – v Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney (d/n)
Wed 11 Mar – v Qualifier 3, Bellerive Oval, Hobart (d/n)
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be contested by the 10 Full Members of the ICC, together with four Associate and Affiliate Members that qualify through the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifying programme.
Full details of on the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 are available at www.cricketworldcup.com, where fans can also register for ticketing news and other tournament updates.
The official hashtag for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 is #cwc15.
International travel packages and ticketing information including tiers and packages will be released later this year.