Spin will play a crucial role in series, says Aussie skipper Smith

The 28-year-old Steven Smith admitted that the ultimate job would be to win the series against India and stated that he's banking largely on his spinners.

Smith also said that the series will be crucial to Australia's preparation for the Ashes series and the 2019 World Cup.   -  R. Ragu

Speaking his mind is a Steven Smith thing. The Australia skipper, who loves making things simple and clear, was at his usual best as he took questions ahead of his side’s tour opening ODI at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

While the 28-year-old admitted that the ultimate job would be to win the series against India, he was counting a lot on the spinners.

Excerpts…

On whether Australia will largely depend on him

I think it’s important for someone in the top four to go on and make a big score. I think we have the guys to do that. It’s important in any country. We saw that the last time we came here in 2013, it was a run-fest where 350 was around par.

I guess it comes with experience, the more you play, the more you face situations. You eventually learn what to do in different situations.

On how will this series pan out?

It’s difficult to say. Every ground is going to be different. I think it’s about summing things up quickly at every ground. I couldn’t tell you if it is going to be a run-fest, because (it all) depends on the pitches.

On how crucial the all-rounders would be…

I think it depends on the conditions. We have got a spinning all-rounder — all-rounders who take the pace off the ball. We have got a few different options but we will go in with what we think is the best team. There is a bit of a weather (issue) around, (there could be) some rain. (Depending on that) we will name our eleven for tomorrow.

On how difficult things would be for both the sides without specialist openers—Shikhar Dhawan and Aaron Finch?

Yeah, I think Shikhar has obviously been playing well for India for the last year or so at the top of the order. Obviously it is tough for them. Hope everything is okay with him. He has gone back home to Australia (to be with his ailing wife).

I think they still have got a very strong batting line-up. (It needs to be seen) whether KL Rahul opens or Ajinkya. I am not sure, but we are ready for both. They have a strong top-six or seven.

On whether Australia will promote Travis Head in the opening slot, or keep him at No. 4?

Nothing really changes. Travis will probably bat at 4. I won’t give too much away other than that.

On the Chepauk pitch

We have talked about the possibility of dew. It’s hard to say if there is going to be any. There is no grass on it, at the moment. It’s difficult to say how it is going to play. It is soft and pretty warm outside. (It is) going to harden up pretty quickly. We will look at it tomorrow and make another assessment quickly.

On the impact of spin bowling in the series…

I still think it could play a part particularly in the middle overs. (It is needed) just to change things up and take the pace off the ball. Spin has always played a partially big part in ODIs, particularly in these conditions.

On the road ahead keeping 2019 World Cup in mind…

We have had a bit of a chat about that. We have got 30 ODIs before the World Cup. For us, it is about finding the right group of players. Hopefully, this group can go about finding the best group of players. As a team we want to win major tournaments. It is another step towards that.

On the importance of the series ahead of the Ashes…

(We would) try to win the series. That’s the main objective. Hopefully guys will put their hands up and win games for Australia. That’s very important for us.