We've no reason to fear Australia - Styris
A day after Shane Bond predicted New Zealand would give Australia "their biggest test of the summer", the allrounder Scott Styris has said the tourists are not as good as they might think they are. Like Bond, Styris was recalled to the New Zealand squad for the limited-overs squad against Australia starting next week and he believed the home side had every reason to believe they could beat a red-hot side.
"When I started playing against Australia 10 years ago, one of the big things was believing you can beat them. From a young age we get Australian cricket on TV here and we look up to these guys and think they are supermen. It's not the case," he told the Sunday Star-Times. "They are fantastic cricketers in their own right but they are no better than we are, and it just takes a little while to believe you are good enough and can beat them.
"Certainly, when they had great players like the Waugh brothers, Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist, we sometimes put them on a pedestal, but it's not the case with these guys. Even though they are destroying Pakistan and West Indies, they have nothing we should be fearful of. I'm at a stage in my career where I love beating them and I think New Zealand has every right to beat them in this series."
Australia's pace attack has been critical to their unbeaten home summer. Shaun Tait, who recently his 160.7kph on his return to Australia's Twenty20 side, was one player about whom much has been expected but Styris chose to downplay talk of a speed challenge.
"I didn't see the game on TV when they were supposedly bowling very quickly," he said. "It's not easy to bat against that pace, but we've played against Shaun Tait in the past and we know we can get hold of him. The same with Mitchell Johnson, we've done well against him in the past. We just have to keep believing we're good enough to take these guys down."
Styris, 34, had fared poorly in New Zealand's limited-overs contests against Pakistan in November and was left out of the home series against Bangladesh recently. There have been media reports attributing Styris' exclusion from the national side to an attitude problem, but head coach Mark Greatbatch has scotched those rumours.
Styris was one of the standout players in the Twenty20 domestic competition, the HRV Cup, scoring 274 runs at a strike-rate of 133 besides chipping in with 12 wickets. Apart from that tournament, Styris has also led Auckland to the ongoing one-day competition final, and his form has been impressive.
"A few selection things haven't gone my way this season," he said, "and I was starting to think 2010 was a shit year. I'm only in for the first two ODI games, but it's better than nothing, isn't it? Seriously though, it's pleasing because I've been in good form since Christmas."