Josh Hazlewood will come into contention for Australia’s second game © AFP
Australia’s captain Steven Smith has opened the possibility of a recall for Josh Hazlewood after declaring the Bangalore pitch to be more akin to an IPL surface than most of the turning tracks prepared so far at the World Twenty20.
Smith’s words may mean a rapid demotion for the left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, who bowled only one expensive over in the loss to New Zealand that has left Australia needing to beat Bangladesh at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Monday night or risk a swift exit from the tournament.
“I’m sure he will be talked about,” Smith said of Hazlewood. “He’s got the skills, he hits the seam, and if there is still some grass on the wicket, you’ll see him coming into contention. There’s a little bit of grass in it. It’s still quite wet at this stage, but it’s pretty hot here, so it dries out pretty quickly.
“Looking at how dry it is and that kind of thing, I don’t think this will take as much turn as the last couple that we have seen. It looks a pretty good wicket. The day before it looks very similar to what a lot of the IPL wickets look like. Generally those games are pretty high scoring. I think you’ll see something like that tomorrow.”
Australia’s leaders have laid their opening defeat largely at the feet of the batsmen, who contrived to lose from the strong foundation of 50 for 1 chasing 143 to win. Smith argued that an improved batting display would go a long way towards kickstarting Australia’s campaign, which will otherwise be headed for a quick an ignominious end.
“We haven’t played as well as we would have liked in this format of the game,” he said. “I still think we have the right personnel here to get the job done. We’ve got a strong squad of 15 players. We have a lot of power in the sheds.
“For us it’s about making sure we improve in the middle overs and keep the wickets in the shed so we can use that power to have some success over here. We didn’t do that the other night. If we can, I’m confident we’ll get enough runs and our bowlers will do the job to get us a few wins in this tournament.”
The match will be a reunion of sorts of Smith and numerous team-mates, as the Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha was highly regarded as an assistant coach for New South Wales before he took up his current job.
“They are a very much improved side and they have learnt a lot under Chandika Hathurusingha,” Smith said. “I had the pleasure of working with him at New South Wales and he has taught them quite a lot. They have improved a lot over the last couple of years and they will be a big challenge for us tomorrow night.
“[Hathurusingha] was a good influence on me when he was with New South Wales. I think he reads the game really well, he understands batting really well, he was really good in the time he had at New South Wales. He’s obviously done well to get an international job with Bangladesh and he’s had a bit of success since he has been there, which is great.”
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo