Australia peaking but Warner, Smith will need ‘thick skin’: Lee

«We saw what happened with David Warner during the IPL, the leading run scorer and the Orange Cap holder, Steven Smith got a big hundred in his first game.

«They have been welcomed back to the Australian cricket team with open arms and I reckon they have a shot at winning.

David Warner has already had a taste of crowd reaction in warm-up games.

David Warner has already had a taste of crowd reaction in warm-up games.Credit:AP

«You have got the Barmy Army, you have got guys like Kevin Pietersen chirping at me already. They are going to cop some sledging but you need thick skin.»

Australia will finalise their preparations at training on Friday for the Cup opener against Afghanistan, with team selection still a point of intrigue.

Aaron Finch’s men begin on an eight-game winning streak through recent series against India and Pakistan but it’s now about rebuilding momentum, with six wins from nine pool matches likely needed to make the knock-out stage.

«We need a couple of good games back-to-back, it will be phenomenal if Australia can win a sixth title, I know what it means to win a World Cup and it is the best feeling in the world,» Lee said at the World Cup launch.

«I think they can [win it], I am quietly confident with the Aussies, they have got a great team, a great squad, they tick every box, they bowl pretty well at the death and they field pretty well. I would never back against the Aussies, put it that way.

“It’s also about peaking at the right time when you go into a World Cup. I think Australia are doing that, although we haven’t played a lot of great cricket back-to-back in the last 12 months.»

Australian bowling coach Adam Griffith says there is no reason why Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc cannot be a dominant new-ball tandem but it’s Marcus Stoinis that former pace king Lee, who celebrated World Cup success in 2003, is looking to.


«Pat’s a superstar and a key player, while Mitch can bring the ball back in and rip someone’s pad off. With Jason [Behrendorff], he can bring a beautiful, subtle change and [Nathan] Coulter-Nile can bowl well, too. Australia have a good attack,» he said.

«Stoinis, to me, he’s my pick. I’m chipping up on him. His presence excites me. When he walks in to bat, you can see he means it. He wants it. He’s a genuine all-rounder who can win a game with the bat and with the ball. He’s quick enough to bowl on the front line and I think he’ll be pretty handy in these conditions.”




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