Cricket World Cup 2019: Ricky Ponting puts focus on Australia’s abilities with and against spin
Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon could determine Australia's World Cup, feels Ricky Ponting.

Three-time World Cup winner Ricky Ponting believes that defending champions Australia‘s ability to utilise their spin options, as well as counter the threat of opposition spinners, could be the deciding factor at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Australia have named two specialist spinners in their 15-man World Cup squad – Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa – and have Glenn Maxwell‘s offspin to call on as well in England this summer, where Ponting feels the slowness of the tracks and the number of spinners in each team may prove defining.

Zampa and Lyon took 12 wickets between them in Australia’s 5-0 ODI series win over Pakistan in the UAE earlier this year.

(READ: Five legspinners to watch out for at World Cup)

“The thing that will define Australia’s success in the World Cup is, one, how well they bowl spin and, two, how well they play it,” he told The Telegraph. “That’s been their Achilles’ heel the last 12 or 18 months. With [Adam] Zampa bowling well now, Nathan Lyon’s obviously in the squad and Glenn Maxwell’s done a good job with the ball whenever he’s played.

(READ: Adam Zampa on his partnership with Nathan Lyon)

“And I think some of our middle order are probably slightly better players of spin now than they were 12 or 18 months ago. With [David] Warner there now and Steve Smith coming back in, the middle order looks a lot better against spin bowling than it probably was.”

Ponting, who won three successive World Cups in 1999, 2003 and 2007 – the latter two as captain of Australia – also singled out the return of Steve Smith and David Warner as crucial to the success of Aaron Finch’s team.

(READ: All Australia records at World Cup – most runs, wickets, catches, wins)

“They’re both playing really well. Steve Smith still thinks he’s not probably 100% fit just yet – but he’s not far away. And Warner’s been the dominant batsman in the IPL,” he said. “Those two coming in, obviously they’re class players – they’ll have their fair share of issues to deal with from the crowds and stuff when they get over there.

“But they’re big boys. They’ve been there and seen it all before. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”

Australia open their World Cup campaign on June 1 against Afghanistan at Bristol.