Winning the World Cup in 1987 changed Australian cricket: Allan Border

Heading into the tournament, we were actually an unfancied side, so we kind of slipped under the radar a little bit.

There’s no doubt that 1987 was the catalyst for change for Australian cricket.

Heading into the tournament, we were actually an unfancied side, so we kind of slipped under the radar a little bit.

But winning our first game against hosts India gave us real momentum. We hadn’t had a lot of success in the years before and then all of a sudden we won the World Cup and it was a real surprise.

There was a definite reemergence of Australian cricket as a premier nation after that – it all started to blossom from there.

We then went through a golden period throughout the 1990s. It’s incredible how it works and it’s hard to bottle.

There’s a really strong culture in Australia that traces back to our first-class cricket. The selection process tends to gear itself around making sure we’re ready for World Cups every four years and the players want to emulate what’s happened before them.

The current team are a bit more of an underdog going into this tournament, but I get the feeling that the history is more of a help than a hindrance. Nobody will want to play Australia in the semi-finals if they make it that far.

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I like the way Justin Langer’s side are shaping up. If I’d been asked three months ago, I would have been a little bit hesitant about our chances.

But things have turned around for our team after some really good performances in India and against Pakistan in the UAE. I just think they’ve turned a corner.

The injection of world-class performers in Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc will make a hell of a difference to the confidence in the dressing room too, while I also really like Adam Zampa, who has matured nicely over the past 12 months.

The key will be having a mix between pace and spin, but leg spinners are going to play a big role in this World Cup. Good spinners are going to be like gold dust, and how you bowl is going to win or lose you games.

Most areas appear to be covered for Australia but they still need to be playing at their best because in England, India and South Africa, there are some pretty good cricket teams involved in this ICC Cricket World Cup.

It’s probably as open a time as I can remember, with as many as six teams able to win it.

England, though, are quite rightly favourites because they’ve changed the game to a certain degree. There’s no score that they couldn’t get or target they couldn’t achieve. The rest of us are playing catch-up to a certain degree.

First Published:
May 28, 2019 18:42 IST

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