Thursday, March 23, 2023

Australian captain Smith aims to bag elusive WT20 title


Kolkata, March 12 (IANS) Australia cricket captain Steve Smith on Saturday said they will try and grab hold of the World Twenty 20 trophy this time around in India, a prize that has eluded them since its inception in 2007.

“We have not done as well as we would have liked to in this format of the game. This is one trophy that has eluded us. So we want to do well and get it this time. We have a lot of guys doing well the top of the order. Some doing well in the latter stages of the game. So we want to sum up the conditions. Be flexible and do well,” Smith told reporters here.

Australia are coming into the tournament at the back of a 2-1 T20I series win against South Africa and have not played much cricket here in the sub-continent but Smith believes the conditions would not be alien to his players, some of whom play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

He said, ”IPL has been great for the development of players from all around the world so I think the experiences we have had in the IPL will hold us in good stead for this tournament.

“Some of our boys know what it is like to play in these conditions and in front of huge crowds in the stadium. We all are excited and IPL has certainly helped us.”

Smith has a happy dilemma when it comes to his opening batsman. He has the likes of Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja and David Warner who can have a crack at the top. But he said the decision of who should open will be made after assessing the opposition.

“Depends on who’s best suited for the opposition. Who has done well in certain conditions. We have 15 players in the squad who can have a go in such conditions. We have to sum up the opposition and each ground we play at and then we will be picking the team from there,” said the 26-year-old.

Smith also said the Australians look a settled unit ready to charge in and do well in the competition.

“A lot of guys are in real good shape. We have played great cricket in South Africa winning the series there. We have put together a good side together, guys with great mentality and we will try and do well here in the event,” he said.

Speaking about his own batting, Smith said, ”I’ll get as strong as I can. Key will be to not lose shape while strokeplay. I will just go out there and try bat well.”

Smith believes there will be immense pressure on the side because it is the World T20, so he said the outfit will take it as one game at a time.

“Playing international cricket and in a world cup you will always have pressure. For us it’s about taking each game at a time and try to win every game. I think you got to start well in the tournament. Doing well here in the World Cup will be very necessary for us,” he said.

Australia have two very young spinners in the form of Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa in the squad, but Smith would not at all call them the weak links.

“Young spinners aren’t a weakness. They have the required skill set to perform well here. As far my bowling is concerned we have to wait and see,” he said.

On 23-year-old Zampa, the skipper stated: ”He has improved a lot in the last couple of years. I think he bowled really well in New Zealand. He showed a lot of variations. Read the batsman very well, which is very important in this format and he is very confident of his skill set. Hopefully he will come good here in the World Cup.”

“We have a lot of spinning options. Just about summing it up on the day. We have all rounders bowling really well, some are very powerful with the bat too.”

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