MELBOURNE : Australia lack depth in their squad but will be a title contender at this year's Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when several frontline players return to the side, former captain Ricky Ponting said.
Batting mainstays Steve Smith and David Warner as well as pace spearhead Pat Cummins are among several first-choice players who skipped the recent tours of West Indies and Bangladesh.
Australia's Twenty20 squad suffered identical 4-1 defeats on both tours, the low point being bundled out for 62, their lowest score in this format, by Bangladesh.
"It just goes to show the depth around Australian cricket right now is not where it needs to be. There's work to do there," Ponting said on SEN radio.
"The T20 World Cup is not far away (but) with everyone fit and healthy in the UAE, I still think the Australian team can push really hard to win that title that's eluded us."
Skipper Aaron Finch, who underwent a knee surgery on Thursday, is expected to lead the side in the tournament scheduled in October-November.
Most of the Australians also play in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which has now been rescheduled to take place in the UAE and this will serve as ideal preparation for the returning players, Ponting said.
"Those guys that haven't played for three or four months now, they need to get back into the groove of playing high-quality cricket against the best players in the world," said Ponting, who coaches Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
"No doubt it's their best preparation to be in those exact conditions, playing in probably the strongest domestic T20 tournament in the world."
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Edwina Gibbs)