Warner (R) speaks with Maxwell during a World Cup cricket warm-up match between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane on Friday. Patrick Hamilton/ AFP
Australia’s cricketers were headed on Saturday to the battlefields of Gallipoli 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 late 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.
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 told cricket.com.au 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 winning their “unofficial” three-game series against New Zealand in Brisbane this week 2-1.
While their starting XI is firming up, 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 89 not out at number four, then 91 not out at three.
The pace attack will almost certainly feature Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff, but questions remain as to whether Nathan Lyon or Adam Zampa will claim the spinner’s spot.
Steve Smith hit an attractive unbeaten 89 but David Warner was out for a duck as Australia made 277 for six against a New Zealand XI in a World Cup warm-up on Wednesday.
Social media executives could spend up to three years in prison and their firms be fined 10 per cent of their turnover if they fail to quickly remove violent material from their platforms, according to a new law proposed by the Australian government
: A far-right Australian senator who said the Christchurch mosque massacre was the result of Muslim immigration into New Zealand was censured for his “ugly and divisive” comments by his parliamentary peers on Wednesday.
The bodies of two victims from New Zealand's mosques mass shooting were carried in open caskets on the shoulders of mourners into a large tent at Christchurch's Memorial Park Cemetery on Wednesday - the first burials of the 50 victims.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal swept past Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 to advance to his first final on clay this season at the Italian Open on Saturday. The eight-time Rome winner had been stunned by Tsitsipas, seeded eighth, in the semi-finals at the Madrid Open last weekend.
Franck Ribery hailed a “special” moment as he and Arjen Robben both scored in their final game at the Allianz Arena on Saturday to wrap up a 5-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and a seventh successive Bundesliga title. “It was a special moment, but also a difficult one,” Ribery told Sky.
Ben Stokes’s unbeaten 71 rescued England from a top-order collapse as the World Cup hosts and favourites beat Pakistan by three wickets with three balls to spare at Trent Bridge. Friday’s win in a floodlit match saw England secure the series at 3-0 up with one to play, but it was far from routine.
Defending champion Brooks Koepka completed the lowest 36-hole showing in major golf history on Friday to seize a record seven-stroke lead after two rounds of the PGA Championship while Tiger Woods missed the cut. Third-ranked Koepka, a runaway favorite to capture his fourth major title on Sunday,