Confidence key to title defence says Maxwell
THE Aussie ODI team can "absolutely" rediscover the form that took it to World Cup glory in 2015, according to star batsman Glenn Maxwell.
After being crowned Australia's T20 player of the year at the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday night Maxwell, who was a key part of the 2015 triumph, outlined his team's path back to the top.
Despite the high turnover of players in recent times, Maxwell could be one six players from the last World Cup success returning when the tournament begins in England this year.
The batting line-up could feature the same top three, too, with the returns of opener David Warner and former captain Steve Smith set to boost Australia's chances.
Maxwell, who was Australia's second-leading scorer at the 2015 tournament, said a return to batsmen playing with "freedom", like they did then, would be crucial for the Aussies to go back-to-back.
In the 2015 tournament, Australia averaged 322 batting first, a figure it has struggled to reach recently, and lost just once on its way to victory over New Zealand in the final at the MCG.
"I think this team is going to need to take the game on in the way that's cricket smart, with good cricket shots," Maxwell said.
"It's a way of dominating the opposition, a solid way of playing one-day cricket. In 2015 it was just solid the whole way through, there were big risks but they didn't feel like risks when they were happening.
"It was Aaron Finch charging opening bowlers and hitting them over the top and you thought "that's not a risk for Aaron Finch".
"It was David Warner hitting the ball over point for four, and that wasn't a risk, Steve Smith hitting the ball from outside off through forward square leg, that's not a risk.
"It was just how players were playing. It was the way that whole team set itself up, guys played their way, and with freedom. If we are going to win this World Cup we need to be able to play with freedom."
Maxwell, who has been in and out of the ODI side since that 2015 tournament, wasn't prepared to pencil his name in for a World Cup return yet, despite his solid recent run in a new position.
New coach Justin Langer has installed Maxwell as a "floater", batting at number seven but able to come in as required.
Critics have suggested that's a waste of a player as talented as Maxwell, but the 30-year-old didn't agree.
"I don't think the way we are setting up that I am wasted. I hadn't done enough to warrant a place in that top four or five,' he said.
"I played a similar role in the World Cup and was able to be successful because of the success of the top order. They were getting hundreds, they were explosive starters. We always went the aggressive route back then and that played in to my hands.
"I might not even be in the squad. The way that everything has been happening over the past 12 months, there's a chance there could be changes I can't predict.
"I think I have a lot to offer with my experience in 2015 and how I played in that tournament. But I think I have to play 21 one-day games in between now and the start of the World Cup, international games and domestic games for Lancashire, but I've got a lot of time to get things right."