Kirsten sees Australia as genuine World Cup contenders

Australia may still be dealing with the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal but World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten has no doubts they will bounce back and be challenging for one-day cricket’s most coveted trophy next year.

The Cape Town scandal in March rocked cricket in Australia to its core and resulted, among other punishments, in lengthy suspensions for then skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner - both key limited overs batsmen.

They will have served their 12-month bans before the World Cup gets underway at the Oval on May 30 but many wonder if Australia, under an as yet unidentified captain, can defend the title they won on home soil three years ago.

“You can never count Australia out of any big tournament,” Kirsten, who coached India to their 2011 World Cup triumph, told in an email interview.

“They are the most consistent team across big tournaments and I am sure they will be ready to compete at the next World Cup.”

Australia unveiled Justin Langer as the new coach on Thursday, succeeding Darren Lehmann who stepped down despite being cleared by Cricket Australia of any wrongdoing in Cape Town.