ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Australia stars draw inspiration in Gallipoli
A host of Australia's World Cup and Ashes squad visited Gallipoli ahead of a big few months of cricket
AFP & Cricket Network
13 May 2019, 04:49 PM AEST
Australia's cricketers headed to the battlefields of Gallipoli over the weekend for inspiration to kick off a gruelling four-month tour taking in the defence of their World Cup crown and an Ashes series.
The team, led by Justin Langer, flew out of Australia on Friday for a multi-day stop in Turkey before arriving in England for three warm-up games ahead of their opening World Cup clash on June 1.
"Where we are right now, on the way to England for a long campaign representing our country, hopefully it will be a real catalyst for gelling together and success," Langer said about visiting the World War I site.
Australia and New Zealand lost more than 10,000 men in 1915 when British and French troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in the Dardanelles Strait in Germany-allied Ottoman Turkey.
It became a defining event for both nations, marking the first time these newly independent countries fought under their own flags.
The Steve Waugh-led 2001 Ashes-winning side made a similar pilgrimage, but Langer missed the trip, something he has called "one of the regrets of my career".
Last year, he took the squad to the WWI battlefields of northern France ahead of his first series in charge following the ball-tampering scandal that rattled Australian cricket.
He said the players learned about "humility and perspective, and understanding how lucky we are".
"It's very sobering, and it was an incredible life experience for the boys, and also it gelled the team together with different experiences and interpretations of our history," he said.
"We talk a lot about our history and the humility of times before."
Since his appointment, Langer has worked hard in restoring faith in Australian cricket after the "Sandpaper-gate" affair in South Africa that led to bans for then captain Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft.
Cricket Australia on Thursday hailed the team's once-notorious behaviour as significantly improved as Langer's new less-abrasive attitude beds in.
- Aussie spirit -
Smith and Warner's one-year suspensions are now over and they were welcomed back to the Australian fold for three warm-up games against New Zealand over the past week.
Former skipper Ricky Ponting, who will be Langer's assistant at the World Cup, was on the 2001 visit to Gallipoli and said it was a motivating experience.
"The thing that was really rammed home to us on that trip was what the ANZAC spirit is all about," he said, referring to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
"It really does typify even the modern Australian person.
"I've been lucky enough to travel around the world and play cricket against a lot of opposition teams in a lot of different countries and you just don't see that same sort of spirit in a lot of people from other countries.
"The will to want to do whatever you can for your mate, to help your mate in a time of crisis."
Australia head to the World Cup in top form.
They won eight straight one-dayers against India and Pakistan before claiming their "unofficial" three-game series against New Zealand in Brisbane this week 2-1.
While their starting XI is looking somewhat settled, the batting order remains in flux.
Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and Warner all opened against New Zealand. It is Warner's favoured position, but he made just 0 and 2 in his two knocks there since returning from suspension.
Smith fared much better, hitting 89no at number four, then 91no at three.
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 22: (warm-up) Australia v West Indies, Southampton
May 25: (warm-up) England v Australia, Southampton
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE