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Australia - World Cup Ladder
11 Apr 2006
By: Liam Camps

Team Australia
World Cup Claim to Fame:
Finalists in four of the last five installments, including three straight. Winners of the last two tournaments and a total of three trophies.
Two-line Profile:
1. The undisputed champions of world cricket.
2. Questionable depth with an ageing first team.

1) Ricky Ponting
What is a team without a strong leader? Ricky Ponting's leadership abilities may have been questioned on occasion since he took over from Steve Waugh, but as long as Australia is far and away the best team in the world, he will remain on top.

2) Adam Gilchrist
Perhaps he's not the player he once was. Gilchrist is still a force of sorts at the top of the order in ODI cricket. It doesn't matter how many runs he does or does not score over the next year. Should he enter 2007 with both hands intact, Adam Gilchrist will play in the West Indies.

3) Glenn McGrath
A ranking based on the hope that he continues his career until 2007. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.

4) Brett Lee
A blonde bombshell of the pace variety, Lee is a potent option with the new white ball in his hand. More so, he is as viable a solution to Australia's allrounder problem as anyone.

5) Andrew Symonds
Not quite as great an allrounder as his fans would like to believe, Andrew Symonds is still an outstanding ODI batsman and will find the West Indian pitches suitable to his style of bowling.

6) Mike Hussey
Few have had such a memorable introduction to the international game. Mike Hussey will be 31 at next year's tournament, but that will be inconsequential if he continues to average over 70 in the middle order.

7) Michael Clarke
Young, talented, young. Michael Clarke is the future of Australian cricket. He is out of the Test team for the time being, but his one-day talents continue to be utilized. Whatever faults he may suffer in batting technique will not be exposed on West Indian pitches.

8) Nathan Bracken
Bracken is the by far the closest to a genuine success among the McGrath-Lee support group. The selectors would be foolish to ignore him.

9) Shane Watson
Australia want an allrounder. Watson wants to be an allrounder. It's a thing of beauty.

10) Damien Martyn
Damien Martyn walks the line. He was seemingly made a scapegoat after the Ashes debacle of 2005, but has found favour once more in recent times. However, with the temperamental selectors marshalling his fate, it's difficult to make an assurances.

11) Simon Katich
Much like his batting style, Katich appears to have gotten stuck in. He won't take anyone's breath away at the top of the order, but he will consistently score timely runs to salvage his spot.

12) Brad Haddin
Opportunities are gold for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin. Playing behind superstar Adam Gilchrist is a curse of great proportions. With no other viable options should Gilchrist collapse mid-tourney, Haddin should take a spot on the plane.

13) Brad Hogg
Whether or not Warne is in the squad may determine the fate of Hogg, but he has done enough for Australia in the past to keep his chances alive regardless of Warne's next move

14) Stuart Clark
Clark is one of the new guys in the AUstralian outfit, but at 30 years of age he is hardly a breath of youth. A useful start to his ODI career and a sensational start to his Test career. Clark is on his way to the World Cup.

15) Phil Jaques
Undeniable domestic form gave Jaques his chance in international cricket late last year. Sadly, he missed the boat and a hundred on debut, scoring just 94. How crucial was his failure to procure those last 6 runs? We may never know, but whatever the reason, Jaques has struggled to find favour and the first XI since.

16) Jason Gillespie
A year ago Gillespie would probably have inked into the top five of the Australian ladder. Now he is not even worthy of a callup as injury cover. Now that Gillespie has returned to the Australian setup, it seems less than just hopeful that he will be around for the World Cup. This, especially if the alternative bowling options continue to flounder.

17) Shane Warne
Will he or won't he? Reports differ, but there is a chance that the original Aussie blonde bombshell will return from his ODI retirement for a last hurrah. Hopefully it'll go better than the 2003 installment.

18) Shaun Tait
It won't be long before Tait wears ODI colours for Australia. Not only is he a highly regarded one-day bowler at domestic level, but there are scarce others for Australia to pick.

19) James Hopes
Another hopeful Australian allrounder (pardon the disgusting pun). Hopes has not impressed greatly much in a handful of ODIs thus far, but has shown enough to suggest that he may hang around the team for a while yet.

20) Brad Hodge
Hodge did not take the opportunity afforded to him by Ricky Ponting's absence, but is still a presence in the discussions of selection. His is a frustrating wait on the outskirts of the team.

21) Michael Kasprowicz
Like Gillespie after him, Kasprowicz has had a steep fall from grace. Still, he was entrusted with a return recently against South Africa. More so his ODI stats make McGrath and Lee's current sidekicks look even more laughable than conventional wisdom already suggests.

22) Matthew Hayden
This is surely the lowest Hayden will ever be in terms of merit within Australian cricket, but since he was discarded from the ODI side in 2005, few moves have suggested that he will return anytime soon.

23) Mark Cosgrove
The second coming of Lehmann. We await to see whether the Australian selectors are willing to risk blooding Cosgrove in the buildup to World Cup '07. No fat jokes here.

24) Cameron White
He has been used sparingly in his limited chances at international level. White will not become a good enough batsman nor a useful enough bowler to play at the top by 2007. The question at hand is whether he will play for Australia regarldess.

25) Mitchell Johnson
Some 92 runs surrendered from his first 72 balls in international cricket and young Mitchell Johnson's stock has plummeted a tad.

26) Dan Cullen
Selection for the tour of Bangladesh sees his stock rise. Some say he has a doosra. Others say he's not good enough. Just when we thought Alex Loudon had the market covered...

27) Shaun Marsh
At 22 years of age, Marsh has a whole career ahead of him. His time is not now and it is almost inconceivable that he would make the World Cup squad. Still, number 26 has a nice ring to it.

28) Adam Vogues
He may not look like a cricketer, but Adam Vogues has delivered the goods on occasion for Western Australia. With the bat he has developed into a genuine threat, though his option of slow left-arm bowling is hardly worth a mention.

29) Nathan Hauritz
Understandably he never got a proper run at international cricket and does not seem to be anywhere near the running for a return at this stage. A talented player undoubtedly, Hauritz never truly looked the part in a setup that already has Brad Hogg, if not Shane Warne.

30) Brett Dorey
Dorey was talked of as the next big bowling prospect for Australia, but with 1 wicket for 134 runs in his first 3 matches, his performances have not quite fit the bill. Not tall enough to make the squad.

31) Mick Lewis
"Some days you have a great day, some days you have a **** day. That's life mate, it is no big concern. It won't worry me." - the words of Mick Lewis. Unfortunately, his bad day was to the tune of 10-0-113-0 - the worst ODI figures the game has seen. Fortunately for him, it was likely the last bad day of his international career. Not only is it near impossible to suffer any worse, but it is improbable that he will get the chance to again.

32) James Maher
Jimmy Maher went to the last World Cup, presumably as cover for Adam Gilchrist with the gloves. Since he has played 4 more international innings, scored 60 more runs and is out of the picture as of now.

33) Moises Henriques
How desperate is Australia for a genuine allrounder? The answer to that question will determine Henriques 2007 World Cup fate. He already had his 2006 experience at the Under-19 version of the tournament, where he impressed all who spectated. Unlikely to graduate to the big boys table in time for the West Indies.

34) David Hussey
You can never have enough Husseys at your disposal, but at 28 years of age with an old Australian side, it's unlikely this brand will get a chance by 2007.

35) Adam Griffith
Neither here nor there in terms of his reputation. Griffith has about as much of a chance at being in the West Indies as does Andy Bichel. Flawed logic aside, given that Bichel has not made the 40, he stumbles into the furthest 10.

36) Brad Williams
He may not have played an ODI since 2004, but Williams has 27 wickets at an average of 18.74 in his last 17 appearances in a limited-overs international. Australia could do much worse.

37) Stuart MacGill
Shane Warne and Brad Hogg are above him and a tendency to bowl a delicious serving of loose deliveries in Test cricket will work against him in consideration for the shorter form.

38) Mark Cleary
Cleary is a bowling allrounder of sorts. His domestic record isn't flattering, but to his credit, he has represented Yorkshire.

39) Michael Bevan
Mike Hussey has taken the Bevan role to a whole new level. He has successfully demolished the job prospects of his predecessor in the course of it.

40) Darren Lehmann
Lehmann is still one of the best batsmen in Australia, but age is not on his side and it would take an injury crisis of English proportions to see him in the West Indies next year.

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