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Spin is in for pacy Aussies

None of Australia's three successive World Cup triumphs saw major contribution from spinners. Amol Karhadkar reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 02, 2011 23:59 IST
Amol Karhadkar

None of Australia's three successive World Cup triumphs saw major contribution from spinners.

Though Shane Warne, one of the spin bowling legends in the history of the game, was a part of their campaign in 1999, Australia always banked on the strength of their pace bowling when it came to crunch moments.

However, it's not the same when it comes to the ongoing World Cup. The conditions in the sub-continent are such that no team can afford to ignore the role of spinners. It was vividly displayed by South Africa's strategy of going in with four spinners in their last outing.

And Australia isn't ignoring the spinners either. In both of their previous matches, off-spinner Jason Krejza, who came in as a replacement for injured Nathan Hauritz, and leg-spinning all-rounder Steve Smith have been a part of the eleven.

No wonder that both the spinners are sharing most of the workload during Australia's training sessions, which are as innovative as ever, here ahead of their Saturday's crucial encounter against hosts Sri Lanka.

Smith, who at 21 is billed as one of the next big things from Down Under, realises the challenge of making himself count with the ball in a tournament of such stature. "After Warnie, there haven't been much of a leg-spinner. It's a big challenge for me," Smith said after a hectic workout at the P Sara Oval on Thursday.

"I like to think of me as an all-rounder, but I like to contribute as a leg-spinner as well. I have been bowling lots at the nets, and I hope to keep getting better every day. Bowling in sub-continental conditions has been a good learning experience for me as I am getting to know my bowling a lot better."