Ahead of his side’s ICC Cricket World Cup match against Afghanistan, Australian batter Steve Smith said that he suffered an episode of vertigo over the last day or so and expressed hope that he will train and be able to overcome it fully. Australia will take on Afghanistan in their Cricket World Cup match at Mumbai. Australia are at third spot with five wins and two losses and a total of 10 points. One more win will solidify their semifinal chances. Afghans have also done very well in the tournament, having won four out of their seven matches. With eight points, they are at sixth spot and in contention for a final four spot.
Ahead of the match in pre-match press conference, Smith said, “I have had a bit of vertigo stuff the last day or so, so it has just been a bit annoying. So, hopefully, I can get through training today and be all good. But, yeah, it is not a nice place to be.”
“Occasionally, I have had a few episodes, so I can tell you it is not the funniest space to be in, but yeah, I will go out and have a hit and hopefully be okay and we will see how we go,” he added.
On his current run in the tournament, in which he has scored 205 runs in seven matches at an average of just 29 with one fifty, Smith said that he has felt disappointed at times but he is hitting the ball well. Smith is optimistic for some runs at the back end of the tournament.
“It has been a little bit disappointing at times. I have been in the middle of a few partnerships that have helped build a foundation for sure, but yeah, definitely would have liked to have gone on with it a little bit more. I have got in on some tricky surfaces, obviously, the first one against India was a tricky one, the South Africa one where I felt like I was batting nicely – questionable sort of LBW and then got a got a good one early, I suppose against Sri Lanka.
“I was batting nicely against the Netherlands and then was batting reasonably the other day against England. So yeah, a couple of starts where I would have liked to have gone on with it a little bit more, but it was not to be. But I still feel like I am hitting the ball quite well, so hopefully some runs at the back end of the tournament,” said Smith.
On preparing for next two matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, two sides he has not played much in ODIs, Smith said that both teams have some quality spinners and it is important that the team bats well in middle overs against them.
“I think both sides have some quality spinners in particular, which I think the spinners have had pretty big impacts for most teams in those middle overs and we knew that coming into the World Cup that those middle overs batting is going to be crucial to negate the damage as much as possible, build foundations for the back end and, yeah, it is going to be no different in the next couple of games against some quality spinners,” said Smith.
On the fitness of Glenn Maxwell, who suffered a concussion and the availability of Mitchell Marsh, who joined the team on Sunday after flying back home due to personal reasons, Smith said, “Good question, not sure. Marsh’s here, he is here at training today and Max is here as well so yeah, I assume they are training and whether they are available tomorrow I have no idea.”
On how strong is the current Australian team as compared to other ones in his career, Smith said that this one is also a quality side.
“I do not want to sort of single out any sort of teams. I think I have played in some really good teams over the years. Obviously, the one in 2015 was a very good one when we won the World Cup at home and this is no different. It is a quality side. We have got some good people there, some good individuals, and we are working collectively as a team at the moment after the first two losses we had. So, we are in a good place, we are playing well, and hopefully, we can keep that up,” said Smith.
Smith said that Afghanistan’s spin bowling needs to be shown respect at the right times and there is a right time to put pressure on them as well.
“So yeah, playing at Wankhede it is historically a high-scoring ground – so no we are going to have to play their spinners well tomorrow, there is no doubt about that. They are very good bowlers, they are smart bowlers and yeah, we are going to play them well tomorrow,” he added.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc.
Afghanistan squad: Hashmatullah Shahidi (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Rahmat Shah, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Abdul Rahman, Naveen ul Haq.
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