Two-time champions Australia have been the most successful side in the history of the ICC Champions Trophy and they are once again among the favourites to lift the title in England in this edition of the tournament.
But the one thing that threatens to derail their campaign is the ongoing pay dispute between the players and Cricket Australia. To make matters worse, there is no sign on the horizon that says that a breakthrough is just around the corner.
However, if the players can put behind this issue behind them, the Australian squad is capable of blowing away any team on their day.
Here is a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Australian Team and who could be their possible trump card.
1. EXPLOSIVE BATTING
Australia possess one of the most explosive batting line-ups in the world. Players like David Warner, Chris Lynn, Steven Smith and Glenn Maxwell can bat any opposition out of the game in a blink of an eye. Also, these big names are coming into this tournament on the back of a great Indian Premier League season where they performed at their respective optimum levels and that will only boost their confidence ahead of the Champions Trophy.
Warner won the orange cap in the recently-concluded cash-rich league wit 641 runs in 14 matches, while Smith finished as the highest run-getter for Rising Pune Supergiant with 472 runs in 15 matches. Meanwhile, Lynn showed his hitting prowess while opening the batting for Kolkata Knight Riders and scored three fifties in seven matches.
Records in the past couple of years suggest that Australian pacers are one of the best in the world. The likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are proven customers on the international stage and they have been ably supported by the likes of Pat Cummins and John Hastings.
Since 2016, Starc has played 19 matches and picked up 39 wickets at an astonishingly low economy rate of under 5. While in the same period, Hazlewood has 36 wickets in 22 matches to his name. Cummins too has done a good job by picking up 18 wickets in 10 matches for Australia, while Hastings was the second highest wicket-taker last season in ODIs.
Expect these players to perform even better in the bowler-friendly conditions in England.
The onus of handling the team's spin department will be in the hands of youngster Adam Zampa. While the 25-year-old leg spinner has been a revelation for Australia in the last two years, he has never toured England before and putting all the eggs in one basket can prove to be catastrophic for the team.
And with only Maxwell in the squad who is a recognised part-time spinner, if anything goes wrong during a match, Smith won't have many options at his disposal.
MATCH PRACTICE OF PACERS
While Australia's pacers are their strength, their fitness and match practice remains a cause of concern. Starc pulled out from the IPL because of a recurring ankle injury while Hazlewood last took to the field in March against India in the Dharamsala Test.
On paper, these two have been Australia's most consistent bowlers in the past two years and the team will expect them to hit the ground running in England. But by the looks of it, shrugging off the rust and starting the tournament on a good note will be a challenging task for them.
Swashbuckling opening batsman David Warner has to be Australia's trump card for their campaign. Previous record suggests that Warner hasn't been at his best in English conditions as he has scored a paltry 169 runs on 7 matches.
But recent form also states that the southpaw is in good nick and would definitely be eager to improve his record in the country by firing his team to the title.
Steven Smith (c), David Warner, Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, James Pattinson, Mitchell Strac, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade(WK), Adam Zampa
June 2: Australia v New Zealand, Birmingham, 3:00 PM IST (Group A)
June 5: Australia v Bangladesh, London, 6:00 PM IST (Group A)
June 10: England v Australia, Birmingham, 3:00 PM IST (Group A)