Steve Smith says it is ready to answer any SOS related to injury for Australia in the T20 World Cup, with three members of the starting XI struggling with hamstring problems.
Captain Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David are expected to receive the results of scans on nagging hamstring problems on Wednesday afternoon.
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The trio were injured during Australia’s 42-run win over Ireland on Monday night, keeping alive hopes of progressing to the tournament’s semi-finals.
While Finch’s hamstring concern appears to be the worst of the three Australian players, the captain said after the Ireland game that he “doesn’t feel too bad”.
Smith has yet to feature for the Australians at the World Cup but says he will be ready to go if or when called upon.
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 quite successful and you haven’t seen those really big scores,” Smith said.
“Guys like Virat (Kohli) were just batting in that match (against Pakistan) at the MCG and then they took it over later. That’s how I like to go about things.
“If things are tough early on, I’ve played Test cricket and one-day cricket so I have the game in those tough circumstances.
“The tournament has been wicket-taking so far, if you have someone who is able to bat through a fair portion of the innings and let the strikers get around him, it has worked quite well.
“I definitely feel I can play that role.”
Cameron Green is another option to make the Australian side – especially if Finch is ruled out – with the all-rounder capable of slotting in alongside David Warner at the top of the batting order.
Former Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin says the fact that Green also offers Australia an extra bowling option has made him the “frontrunner” to come into the Australian side for Friday’s game against Afghanistan.
“It’s going to be a really interesting pick because Afghanistan will be dominated by 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 plays spin better than anyone in the world, so put him in the middle order and move Stoinis up top because Marcus Stoinis has been a dynamo at the moment . He plays a very aggressive game, comfortable in his midfield role, so looking to move him up top?
“On the other side, you’ve got Cameron Green and we’ve seen Australia’s appetite for him at the top of the order leading into this tournament.
“For me, the obvious change is Green goes up, which gives you another bowling option. You have three quicks, three medium pace all-rounders so you have options with the ball. So I imagine Green is the leader.”
Steve Smith has big game experience
In Smith’s favor is the fact that he has a good track record of performing in big tournaments like the 2015 ODI World Cup in Australia, where his last five innings saw scores above 50.
“I know when there’s a level of pressure, I like to think I do well in those situations,” Smith added.
The former Australian captain admits that all-rounder Green is also a strong possibility to feature following his success at the top of the order in the recent tour of India.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is expected to captain 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 need to beat Afghanistan and possibly by a wide margin, although England are likely to book their place in the semi-finals if they win their last match against Sri Lanka.
Smith admits the Aussies will need to be at their best against Afghanistan to have the best chance of keeping the tournament alive.
“They have a pretty good bowling attack. We saw (Fazalhaq) Farooqi at the top swinging the ball both ways with good pace,” he said.
“Rashid Khan is probably the best T20 spinner in the world and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) bowls really well.
“They have some batsmen who are dangerous and Adelaide is probably a good place for them with the shorter square boundaries.”
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