Head coach McDonald confirms Smith firmly in Australia's plans for T20 WC

February 22, 2024

New Delhi, Feb 22 (AGENCY):

Australia's head coach Andrew McDonald has said that Steve Smith is firmly in the mix for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.

Smith will likely to open in at least one of the remaining two matches of the T20I series games against New Zealand after missing the series opener's starting XI in Wellington, which Australia won by 6 wickets thrillingly.

There has been continuous speculation regarding Smith's position in the T20 setup, especially considering his absence from T20Is since late last year. Several other contenders vying for top-order batting positions in the World Cup have asserted their claims ahead of him also added uncertainty surrounding his role.

Speaking after Australia's thrilling win over NZ at Wellington, McDonald confirmed Smith set to open the batting in Auckland but hinted that his opportunity would likely come in his new role as an opening batsman, potentially pairing with David Warner as the think tank refines their strategy for the World Cup in June.

"If he wasn't in our thinking then he wouldn't be on the plane over here. We're playing him for a reason. He'll get some opportunity here, he had some opportunities in India at the back end of a World Cup and we were planning for him to play in South Africa as well going as far back as August-September (last year), but he unfortunately had a wrist injury at the time, so he missed those three one-dayers," McDonald was quoted.

"But he's definitely in the thoughts. We'll probably play him in a slightly different role to what we've seen in previous World Cups in T20 cricket. He's gone to the top of the order in recent times, so batting high up there's still competition for places. I suppose that's a good problem to have," he added.

Warner and Head are expected to form the opening partnership when the World Cup begins in early June. In the current lineup, Smith appears to have a supporting role in the top order, alongside skipper Mitchell Marsh at three, followed by Glenn Maxwell at four, and last night's standout performer, Tim David, at six.



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