Former Australia coach John Buchanan says that Aussie captain Ricky Ponting can lead his side through another successful World Cup campaign and win the coveted trophy again, regardless of his curernt form and the fact that Australia were badly beaten in the Ashes.
Buchanan, a stalwart of Australian cricket, believes embattled skipper Ponting, however, needs fewer duties to worry about before he can take his team back to the one-day game's summit.
England romped home 3-1 in an Ashes series win this month, with each victory by an innings, as the Australians slipped to fifth in the Test rankings after 15 years of world dominance, losing six of their last eight tests and six of the last 12 one-day games.
But Buchanan drew attention to the fact that Australia are still the world's top-ranked team in 50-over cricket and believes they will reach a fifth straight final at the Feb 19-April 2 World Cup, to be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"The Ashes is finished with," Buchanan, 57, told a leading reporting agency in a phone interview. "The World Cup is a one-off tournament and it really doesn't matter what happens in Australia or other lead-up games elsewhere around the world. The conditions they will experience will be different; they will be facing new teams every third day, so it's now just about what is required to win the World Cup."
The tall, soft-spoken coach nicknamed "Buck" succeeded Geoff Marsh as Australia coach in 1999 and quit the post in 2007 after leading them to World Cup wins in 2003 and 2007, a world record 16 straight test wins, twice over, and a 5-0 Ashes sweep in 2006-07.
Australia's present woes could be attributed to the fact that the side is in a transitional period having seen off a slew off world-class players who came together in one golden era. Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist have all quit the international arena.
One of the few remaining giants, Ponting, has played in the last four World Cup finals the last two as captain.But he has recently come under flak for the team's apparent dip in form.
Buchanan still supports Ponting as captain and suggests the batsman follow a more selfish approach to help rediscover the kind of batting form that saw him smash an unbeaten 140 from just 121 balls in the 2003 World Cup final against India.
"He's the best man for the job as long as physically he maintains his skills, there is no question of his batting ability," Buchanan said. "He has been allowed to take on way too much in this so-called rebuilding phase. His principal skills are in and around the team, leading on the field and leading with the bat. Provided that is all he is asked to do."