World T20 2016 March 12, 2016

Warner's batting position will be flexible - Steven Smith

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Australia captain Steven Smith has hinted that David Warner could have a fluid batting position in the World T20 despite his recent success at No.4. Australia experimented with Warner in the middle order in the T20I series against South Africa and reaped instant rewards. In the second T20I, he smashed 77 off 40 balls in Johannesburg and was involved in a record 161-run stand with Glenn Maxwell as Australia nailed a chase of 205. Warner's role in the decider in Cape Town was also crucial, as his 27-ball 33 complemented Smith's knock in propelling the team towards the target of 179.

Australia tried out three different opening combinations in South Africa using Aaron Finch, Shane Watson and Usman Khawaja with varying degree of success. Smith also suggested that the batting order could be altered to facilitate a left-right combination in spin-friendly conditions. By Khawaja's own admission, he isn't a certainty in the playing XI but Smith asserted that Australia's batting order wasn't cast in stone. "We have obviously got a lot of guys that can bat at the top of the order and he [Warner] has fitted in quite well at No.4," Smith told reporters at his arrival press conference in Kolkata.

"That doesn't mean he's going to bat at No.4 in this tournament. I think for us it's about being flexible and summing up the conditions and who we are playing against and try to match up as well as we can. But he certainly did a very good job at No.4 as well."

Australia have tried out a number of players before eventually settling on the fifteen they have for the World T20. There is a fair bit of inexperience in the squad as well with Peter Nevill, Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa having a collective experience of six T20Is. Smith, however, reckoned a "squad mentality" would help overcome such limitations and that the 2-1 series victory in South Africa was perfect preparation ahead of the World T20.

"We feel pretty settled. We have got 15 guys that can give this tournament a real shake, and I thought we played some pretty good cricket over in South Africa to win that series there," Smith said. "South Africa produced some wickets that sort of replicated these conditions as much as they could which was nice and guys have stepped up and are in good form.

"We've got a good squad together and it's going to take squad mentality for us to do well in this tournament. Selecting the best XI comes down to a lot of different things - who we think is going to be best suited for each opposition at each ground we play at. I think we've got 15 guys that can all do a job in these conditions."

Smith also defended the inexperience in his spin attack and was particularly pleased with Zampa's evolution as a leg spinner. Zampa is yet to take a wicket in two T20 internationals but he bowled economically in South Africa, giving away only 6.12 runs an over.

"I don't think our young spinners are a weakness at all. They are very confident in the skill sets and they have proven themselves and have bowled really well in the big games," he said. " I think he [Zampa] has improved a lot over the last couple of years. I thought he bowled beautifully in South Africa, thought he bowled really well in the ODIs he played in NZ as well.

"I've seen him play for a long time. I know his skill set very well. That helps a little bit when you're captaining someone you've pretty close to. He's got a lot of variations, he reads the batsmen very well which is very important in this format of the game and he is very confident in his skill sets. Hope he can have a good tournament for us."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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  • cricfan1217 on March 15, 2016, 8:00 GMT

    Watson Finch Smith Warner Maxwell Marsh Faulkner Nevill Nathan Coulter Zampa Hazlewood.

  • Jay Gadsdon on March 15, 2016, 0:55 GMT

    Interested in thoughts, big finisher to play 1st 4 overs eg warner then retire and bring back for overs 15-20. Finch replaces him at 4th over gives powerplay overs x2 time in middle overs with maxwell coming in later stages of innings. Chopra did a great article on watsons big front stride in srilanka t20 wc id stick with him to open. Just an idea of retiring players any thoughts

  • Metman on March 14, 2016, 11:21 GMT

    Why was Holder sent to open ? when he CANNOT make the team either as a bowler or a batsman ?.....a better bet would have been to give Lewis a shot which would mean now that he would not get another chance.Simmons you need to explain that MADNESS !! Samuels need to be sent home pronto or placed on 12th man duties for the rest of the tour.Those cricketers are NOT playing as a team and I would have to agree with mngc1...they WILL NOT get past the group stage

  • DaveOTasmania on March 14, 2016, 9:19 GMT

    They finally figured out that Watsons our best opener in limited overs, excellent, can they now also figure out that Mitch Marsh is a specialist bowler and stop wasting James Faulkner by playing him below the overrated Mitch.

    They could even get away with playing Khawaja at 6, do they really need so many bowlers?

    I'd also like to point out that they're usage of Nevil here is more confirmation that he is a very different type of wicketkeeper batsman than our usual big hitters, I hope he gets the chance to bat at 5 or 6 in the test team as I think he's a real innings builder.

  • Samdanh on March 14, 2016, 8:50 GMT

    The more I follow Aus playing 20/20, especially without Johnson who retired and Mitchell Starc, who is injured now, but is a limited overs specialist bowler, with no pace in their attack now, their bowling looks lacking teeth, IMO they are going to be just participants in this tournament. Their batting looks solid and could do well except if they happen to play on what is a 5th day pitch. One good thing is that they are more consistent in the longer versions of the game. I think Cutting would have been a better choice than Hastings. Zampa is doing well. What they miss is one fast man. Will be surprised if they go to knockouts.

  • Big-Dog on March 14, 2016, 5:52 GMT

    How many times now has Maxwell got out going for a reverse sweep? Yes, the media & spectators love it when it comes off but its really just a get out shot. If i was coaching i would sack any player who used it.

  • Jayzuz on March 14, 2016, 1:04 GMT

    Hazelwood could be a real bonus for us here. He isn't very experienced, but if he comes good he could be our new Starc(ish) for the tournament. Hastings and NCN are also very good bowlers, so I don't think our top bowling unit is as bad as so ware saying, and Faulkner is doing well with the ball at present. The key is whether Zampa can hold his nerve, and the fifth bowler if we leave out one of the strike bowlers? What will it be? Maxwell's darts? Marsh's unheavy heavy ball? Or Watson's dibbly dobblies (if he's still standing upright by the second game)?

  • Kester Monrose on March 13, 2016, 18:34 GMT

    West Indies!! let's go. its our trophy this year!! Rally hard!!!

  • BradmanBestEver on March 13, 2016, 18:14 GMT

    Yet another T-slog fest chasing the almighty $. Yawn.Bring on the real cricket please..then the real cricket fans will tune in. In the meantime I am going back to re-arraning my sock drawer

  • Madhusudhan_6-Wd-4-NB-3-Wkt-2-LBW-1 on March 13, 2016, 17:16 GMT

    There is very thin line of margin between flexible and confusion. Hope Aussies not be eliminated before they understood it.

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