LONDON: Australia captain Tim Paine believes training at Lord’s has fuelled the team’s “dream” of appearing in next year’s World Cup final at the ‘home of cricket’.
The reigning world champions have been at Lord’s this week ahead of a one-day international series against England.
The five-match contest, which gets underway across London at The Oval on June 13, will mark the first time Australia have been in international action since March’s ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
The fall-out from one of the most humiliating episodes in Australian cricket history led to year-long bans for former captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner, as well as a nine-month suspension for batsman Cameron Bancroft, who applied sandpaper to the ball during the third Test in Cape Town in a flagrant breach of cricket’s rulebook.
Darren Lehmann subsequently resigned as team coach, with Justin Langer succeeding his fellow former Australia batsman.
It was at Lord’s where the now 33-year-old Paine made his Test debut in a ‘neutral’ match against Pakistan in 2010.
“I haven’t been here for about eight or nine years but one of the first things we (the squad) did was a slow lap together and let it all sink in, the history and tradition,” Paine told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday. “We also talked about the World Cup final here in 12 months’ time as a dream for our guys to work to,” the wicket-keeper explained.
Langer, who knows the ground better than most Australians, having also played for Lord’s-based county side Middlesex, added: “This is the best place on earth. Literally. Mate, what a place. Lord’s is the best place on earth. What about lunch (here)?”
But Australia, who won the 1999 World Cup final at Lord’s, may need to improve their ODI form if they are to reach next year’s showpiece match and be crowned champions for a record-extending sixth time.