Smith ready to step up with key batting trio under injury clouds for business end of World Cup campaign

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Steve Smith says he’s ready to bat in any position required and make his mark in the T20 World Cup as Australia await results of hamstring scans on three of their top six batsmen.

Captain Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David were undergoing scans after suffering the injuries in Monday night’s 42-run win over Ireland and Australia expect to have their results by lunch on Wednesday.

Smith is yet to play in the World Cup but said he was ready to take his opportunity if called upon against Afghanistan in Adelaide on Friday.

The 33-year-old said the way the tournament had panned out suited his style of play.

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“Some of the wickets are doing quite a bit and you haven’t seen those really big scores,” Smith said. “Guys like Virat (Kohli) in that game (against Pakistan) at the MCG just batted, and then took it on later on. That is the way I like to go about things.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 31: Aaron Finch of Australia reacts after the wicket of Mitchell Marsh of Australia during the ICC Men's T20 World Cup match between Australia and Ireland at The Gabba on October 31, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Aaron Finch (Photo by Chris Hyde-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

“If things are difficult early, I have played Test cricket and one-day cricket so I have got the game to play in those difficult circumstances.

“The way the tournament has played out so far with the wickets, if you have got someone who is able to bat through a fair chunk of the innings and let the hitters go around them, that has worked pretty well. 

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“I certainly feel I can play that role.”

Smith has a track record of performing at the pointy end of big tournaments as he did in the 2015 World Cup in Australia in one-day cricket when his last five innings were scores above 50.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Steve Smith during an Australia T20 International Squad Training Session at Metricon Stadium on October 03, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“I know when it gets to the pressure stages I like to think I go well in those situations,” he said.

Smith said all-rounder Cameron Green was also an option to come in after his success at the top of the order on the recent tour of India.

Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is set to captain the side if Finch is ruled out, as he has in the past and as he did when Finch left the field early in the innings against Ireland.

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Australia will need to beat Afghanistan and possibly by a big margin to make the semi-finals and Smith said they would not be pushovers.

“They have a pretty good bowling attack. We’ve seen (Fazalhaq) Farooqi up top swinging the ball both ways at good pace,” he said.

“Rashid Khan is probably the best T20 spinner in the world and Mujeeb (Ur Rahman) bowls really well. 

“They have a few batters that are dangerous and Adelaide is probably a good place for them with the shorter square boundaries.”



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