Steve Smith says he is ready to respond to any injury-related SOS for Australia at the T20 World Cup, with three members of the starting XI struggling with hamstring issues.
Captain Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David are all expected to have test results for their troublesome hamstring issues Wednesday afternoon.
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The trio were injured in Australia’s 42-point win over Ireland on Monday night, which kept hopes of advancing to the tournament semi-finals alive.
While Finch’s hamstring problem appears to be the worst for the three Australian players, the skipper said after the Ireland game that it “didn’t feel too bad”.
Smith has yet to feature for the Australians at the World Cup but says he will be ready to leave if or when called up.
The 33-year-old added that the way the tournament has gone so far really suits his style of play.
“Some of the wickets are doing a lot and you haven’t seen these really big scores,” Smith said.
“Guys like Virat (Kohli) in that game (against Pakistan) at the MCG just hit and then took it back later. That’s how I like to do things.
“If things are difficult at first, I’ve played Test cricket and one-day cricket, so I have the game to play in those difficult circumstances.
“The way the tournament has gone so far with the wickets, if you have someone who is able to bat for a good part of the innings and let the batters round them, it has worked out pretty well.
“I definitely feel like I can play that role.”
Cameron Green is another option to enter the Australian side – particularly if Finch is ruled out – with the all-rounder capable of slotting alongside David Warner at the top of the batting order.
Former Australia vice-captain Brad Haddin said the fact that Green was also giving Australia an extra bowling option made him the “favorite” to join the Australian squad for Friday’s game against Afghanistan.
“It’s going to be a really interesting selection because Afghanistan will be mostly spin bowlers,” Haddin said on Triple M.
“You have Rashid Khan and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) who are their big X-factor players and Steve Smith is playing better than anyone in the world so are you going to put him in the middle order and move Stoinis up? at the top because Marcus Stoinis at the moment, he’s been a dynamo, he plays a very aggressive game, he’s comfortable in his role in the middle, so do you want to take him to the top?
“On the other hand you have Cameron Green and we have seen Australia’s appetite to have him at the top of the order leading up to this tournament.
“The obvious replacement for me is Green going up, which gives you another bowling option. You have three fast, three medium-paced all-rounders, so you have options with the ball. So I guess Green is the favorite.
Steve Smith has big game experience
In Smith’s favor is the fact that he has a performance record at the sharp end of major tournaments, such as the 2015 ODI World Cup in Australia where his last five innings have been scores over 50.
“I know when it comes to pressure phases, I like to think I’m fine in those situations,” Smith added.
The former Australia captain admits the versatile Green is also a solid option after his top-flight success on the recent tour of India.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is expected to lead the team if Finch is ruled out, as he has done in the past and as he did when Finch left the field early in the innings against Ireland.
Australia will have to beat Afghanistan and possibly by a big margin, although England will likely take their place in the semi-finals if they win their last game against Sri Lanka.
Smith admits the Aussies will need to be at their best against Afghanistan to give themselves the best chance of keeping their tournament alive.
“They have a pretty good bowling attack. We saw (Fazalhaq) Farooqi up high swinging the ball back and forth at a good pace,” he said.
“Rashid Khan is probably the best T20 spinner in the world and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) is playing really well.
“They have a few hitters who are dangerous and Adelaide is probably a good place for them with shorter square limits.”
with the AAP
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