ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Australia v Canada, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore
Hastings in frame as Aussies look to rest Tait
March 15, 2011
John Hastings could be set for a World Cup debut as Australia consider resting Shaun Tait for their match against Canada on Wednesday. However, no other changes are expected, with several batsmen still in need of time in the middle, although there could be a slight reworking of the batting order to give Steven Smith and Cameron White the chance to play a reasonable innings.
Australia have already qualified for the quarter-finals and the Canada game is one of three in the space of seven days, before they hit the knockout stage of the tournament. That might not be a heavy schedule by the standards of first-class cricket, but Tait no longer plays the long format and the Australians are loath to push his body too hard.
"Tait would be the obvious one, three games in a short period of time, he's probably the obvious one to give a break," Ponting said. "If he was to go, then Hastings would come in and then we look at what we do with the new ball, that would create some issues, but that would be the obvious change we'd look at."
Mitchell Johnson would be the logical candidate to share the new ball with Brett Lee if Tait doesn't play, but the Australians prefer to use Johnson as first-change. Whatever they do, they will be keen for a more convincing bowling performance than they served up against Kenya, who lost only three wickets to the attack on Sunday, along with three run-outs.
They also want more runs from White, who hasn't made an ODI half-century since before the Australian summer began, and was bowled for 2 against Kenya, the only batsman to fail. White could move up the order against Canada, in an effort to play him into form, while Smith has faced only 19 balls in the tournament.
"The batting stuff could be relying on how the game is actually going," Ponting said of possible changes to the order. "Haddin, Watson and Clarke at the moment all look pretty good. Myself and Whitey could probably do with more time in the middle as could Steve Smith. Mike Hussey, even though he played well, needs more game time. We'll make sure we have our thinking right for tomorrow."
Australia won't know until the weekend where they will play their quarter-final, with India's match against West Indies on Sunday likely to determine the schedule. But whatever is to come for the Australians after they face Canada and Pakistan, Ponting believes teams will be worried about playing the defending champions when the sudden-death stage begins.
"We've started the tournament really well, all the talk was about India and Sri Lanka and South Africa coming here," Ponting said. "We've been able to sneak under the radar a bit, even the last three or four weeks, so nothing has changed from us. We know we're a competitive team and a good team and if we play our best we'll be hard to beat in any conditions.
"We have to play a bit freer that we did the other night. That was a result of guys wanting to make the most of their opportunity in the middle the other day, once we get some continuity with our cricket you'll see us play better and everyone else can start worrying about playing against us. This is not being silly, but towards the end of the tournament, teams will be fearing playing against us just because of our record in the tournament."
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For New Zealand's wild child, there is probably no better place than county cricket right now