DUBAI: Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis says that his team’s confidence ahead of the ICC World Cup has boosted significantly after their recent ODI victories against India and Pakistan, and also due to the return of frontline players Steve Smith and David Warner.

“I think everyone is really confident. To win eight One-day International games in a row away from home was very important for us. We needed it. We had lost a lot of games over the last year or so,” the International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Stoinis as saying.”

It’s good timing. Everyone started to believe in each other and we started to play well as a team,” Stoinis added.

This confidence displayed by the 29-year old should not come as a surprise as his side has won eight straight ODI matches and that too away from home.

They vanquished India after coming back from 2-0 down in a five-match ODI series and then registered a 5-0 clean sweep over Pakistan in the UAE.

Australia start their World Cup campaign against Afghan­istan on June 1 in Bristol.--Agencies

Stoinis also feels that Warner and Smith, who are all set to make their comeback in the national team after serving a ball-tampering ban, will further strengthen the defending champions.

“It [their returns] is a massive boost. People have stepped up in the last few months. We have started winning games consistently. It all adds to the mixture and definitely adds to a World Cup-winning combination,” Stoinis stated.

Last year, captain Smith and dashing opener Warner were banned by Cricket Australia from all cricket for one year for their involvement in ball-tampering during the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. Batsman Cameron Bancroft, a third member of the Aussie squad was also suspended from the game for nine months.

Owing to their phenomenal records, Smith and Warner are regarded as the pillars of Australian batting line-up which, apart from the ODI series wins against India and Pakistan, largely struggled during the absence of the duo.

After the end of the bans, Australian selectors included Smith and Warner for the World Cup being staged in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.

Stoinis, who is currently playing in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore, stated that cricket is all about minor details and they learnt from their defeats as well.

“From the outside, it might look like it happened all of a sudden, but it also shows that the game of cricket is only about minor details. Even in the time we were losing, we learnt a lot, started getting closer in a lot of games,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 25th, 2019