The number one ranked ODI team England might have been tagged as the 2019 World Cup title favorites with home advantage and their recent form in the 50-over format, but defending champions Australia cannot be ruled out and will be deeply feared by rival nations heading into the tournament, three-time world champion Gilchrist said at the Fox Cricket World Cup launch on Tuesday.
When asked who will win the World Cup trophy, he said: “Australia. Certainly on paper they’re as competitive as anyone with the names that are there now and the momentum they built up in the one-day format once they left Australian shores.
“Obviously there’s confidence there. I just like what I’m seeing and five out of 12 World Cups have come this way so I can’t see any reason why we can’t win another one.”
Australia heads into the ICC event having won consecutive ODI series away from home – against Indian and Pakistan, and on a winning streak of eight matches.
Those wins all came without Steve Smith and David Warner who have been added to the squad in what can only be seen as a major boost to the reigning champions.
Australia struggled through much of Warner and Smith’s 12-month ball tampering suspensions, suffering ODI series defeats to England, South Africa and India. But Gilchrist never lost the faith, he said: “I always thought once they got their full squad at full strength they were always going to be as competitive as anyone.
“At the start of last Australia summer you would have said they were a long way off but there was always a lot to happen between then and the start of the World Cup.
“The fact that we won five doesn’t guarantee these guys anything. It’s more just the recent results, the momentum that’s been built up and the names that are on the paper. It’s a very, very strong, well balanced team.
Australia will play two warm up matches before they begin their World Cup campaign on June 1 against Afghanistan.