Steve Smith says Australia are prepared to take on Sunil Narine
As the reigning ODI world champions, Australia are set to square off against West Indies, all eyes will once again be on the West Indies spinner Sunil Narine who announced his arrival in the international cricket with a splendid 6-wicket haul against South Africa in the opening match of the tri-series featuring Australia, West Indies and South Africa.
Narine, who made a comeback to the international cricket after remodelling his action, ran through the Proteas batting line-up and helped his side clinch a 4-wicket victory. The South-African batters looked all at sea in front of the mercurial spinner who unleashed his bagful of tricks.
Talking about the impact of Sunil Narine, Australian skipper Steve Smith emphasized the importance of having a plan against the trickster. He said, "I think it's about each individual batter having a plan against him. He's a quality bowler with a different set of skills than we're used to seeing, (but) a lot of guys have seen him now and know what he brings to the table.”
Plans to tackle spin
The slowness of the tracks in the Caribbean was perceptible in the last game as South Africa lost the plot in the middle overs and Smith had a word of caution for his batters too, "It's probably not going to be really high-scoring games, particularly in the middle-overs against the spinners.”
He also opined, "It's about making sure we're able to rotate the strike and if we get a bad ball to put it away. In Australia, where the bounce is consistent and the ball doesn't spin a great deal, you can hit through the line and take the game on a little bit more. It's about making sure we're smart with our skills."
Getting a clue from the previous match where South Africa looked comfortable in the initial overs, the Australian skipper felt the key will be to start well when the ball is new and hard. The spinners get the soft and old ball which tend to die on those slow tracks and make life miserable for the natural stroke-makers.
According to Smith, the track at the Providence Stadium in Guyana is going to be one of those wickets where the new ball is the easiest to bat and as the wicket slows up, it will become difficult to score freely. So he thinks that if they try and make the most of those first 6-10 overs, then they can be in a commanding position.
Australia’s 12-man squad for the match
However, they should also take a note that South Africa in the last game, they lost the game despite starting well. The middle-order and the lower middle-order crumbled in front of Sunil Narine and were bowled out cheaply.
Australia's 12-man squad for the match: Aaron Finch, David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon