Aussies work on bowling confidence ahead of World Cup

SYDNEY, Feb 26, 2007 (AFP) – Australia will gear their World Cup training sessions towards targeting star rival batsmen, coach John Buchanan said Monday, as alarming statistics reveal their bowling woes. Australia head to the World Cup in the Caribbean this week with figures showing that since the start of last year their bowlers have performed the second-worst of all the major cricket nations in the crucial last 10 overs of one-day internationals, conceding an average of 6.64 runs per over in this period.

The Daily Telegraph said Australia have no one in the top 10 of bowlers who bowl at the end of games, a list headed by subcontinental spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) and Harbhajan Singh (India), who have done exceptionally well given they play most of their matches on small, fast grounds.

It said Australia have three of the six worst-performing bowlers in this situation, with Stuart Clark, Nathan Bracken and Brett Lee (out injured) all copping severe treatment from batsmen.

“These are not the returns of a side poised to win the World Cup, so Australia must improve immediately if they are to defend their title,” the newspaper said Monday.

Buchanan said he wants Australia to