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‘He looks exactly the same’: Ian Chappell is loving Steve Smith’s purple patch

The green is looking particularly spearmint, the gold notably canary, and the players clad in these sublime national colours are in a rich vein of form.

Can Australia defend their title and win the  2019 ICC Cricket World Cup on English soil?

“They’re certainly one of the three best sides in the competition, along with England and India,” former Test captain Ian Chappell tells Piggy and Levy on Macquarie Sports Radio.

“I think you’ve got to give England outright favouritism, but one: they haven’t won a world cup ever, and two: in the shorter forms of the game, the weight of expectation at home seems to get to them a bit.”

Australia has won all four of their warm-up games but they approach game 1 of the World Cup with a selection issue on their hands. Granted, it’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.

All of our batsmen, including the all-rounders, have been scoring runs but all that does is reiterate that seven doesn’t go into six.

Chappelli believes some tinkering might be required but the team has traditionally employed a pick-and-stick strategy.

“Previously they’ve decided ‘this is our best XI’ and they’ve stuck with them unless there’s been an injury along the way,” he said.

“Going back a long time, but the 1996 World Cup in India, Michael Slater was in the XV but didn’t play a game, so that’s been the way they’ve operated in the past,

“I suspect they’re probably going to have to chop and change a little bit but I think it will be as little as possible.”

Assuringly for Australia, former captain Steve Smith has found a purple patch of form and has plundered runs in spite of the taunts from rabid and unwashed English fans.

“Watching him get the hundred against England, I thought to myself, he’s been out of the game for 12 months, opposition bowling sides have had a chance to ponder how we bowl to Steve Smith, and it looked like that pondering hadn’t done them much good at all,

“He looked exactly the same Steve Smith.”

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