Smith hopes for 'right intensity' from World XI
Smith is confident that he's got the arsenal to beat Australia, provided he can direct it properly.Updated: Oct 13, 2005 18:16 IST
World XI captain Graeme Smith is taking an individual approach to the Super Test against Australia. He's advising Brian Lara, Andrew Flintoff and the rest of his starting XI to do the same in the six-day Test match starting on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, realizing his best chance is to properly manage his collection of stars because he hasn't got time to replicate the teamwork inherent in the Australian squad. Following the World XI's 3-0 limited-overs series loss to Australia last week, the future of any series pitting the best players from the rest of the world taking on cricket's No. 1-ranked team hinges on a strong Test match showing.
Smith missed the one-dayers, when his South Africa teammate Shaun Pollock led the World XI.
The 24-year-old South Africa opener arrived in Australia with four days to prepare for the Test match.
"In such a short space of time, the crucial thing is making sure the individuals are ready," Smith said. "I haven't come here to make things rosy, I'm getting people focussed and getting their own games right."
Smith is confident that he's got the arsenal to beat Australia, provided he can direct it properly.
"If we can get all 11 individuals up to the standard that they've achieved throughout their careers, then we can go a long way to winning this Test match," he said. "I want to see the right intensity, the right heart."
"Obviously after a bad performance ... the guys are motivated, they all know they've let themselves down (in Melbourne) and they want to improve."
Smith has never played a Test in Australia, and has never had a world-class spin bowler in his attack.
He'll likely have two of the best at his disposal on the traditionally spin-friendly SCG, with Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan and New Zealander Daniel Vettori expected in the XI when it's announced onFriday. English paceman Steve Harmison should take the new ball, while Smith has a sprinkling of world-class allrounders to chose from, including England's Flintoff and South African Jacques Kallis, joint winners of the 2005 cricketer of the year award and Pollock.
"It's one of those attacks where you've got everything. You've got pace, bounce, you've got spin. As a captain it's about using them in the right ways. That's a challenge I'm excited about," Smith said.
Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar was omitted from the 12-man squad, with doubts persisting over his endurance. Australia captain Ricky Ponting settled on two paceman, two spinners and an allrounder in his XI, a departure from his usual formation of three seamers and legspinner Shane Warne. Ponting inspected the SCG pitch on Thursday and was confident it would turn, as usual, meaning Stuart MacGill wins a recall to work with Warne.
Fast bowlers Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee will open the bowling, with allrounder Shane Watson included for his first Test since January.
Michael Clarke was elevated to No. 4 in the batting order in place of Damien Martyn, who was dropped after a poor Ashes series. Ponting said Australia's limited-overs series win didn't necessarily translate into favoritism for the Test match. "You can never take too much from one series to another when you're changing the format of the game," he said. "Even though we won the one-day series quite convincingly, I still think they'd have to start favorites just because of the absolute quality they've got. It's an amazing team and one that will challenge us in every aspect of the game."
Ponting said the Test match was the real area Australia needed to address following the upset 2-1 Ashes series loss, because its limited-overs form had been good either side of the England tour. "We've had a slight change in our preparation, the way we go about doing things," he said. "The individuals prepared themselves well (in England), but as a team we were off. We've got that right now."
"It was the big moments in the Test matches in England that let us down, the moments that the Australian cricket team have been renowned for winning over the years are the ones we lost. We'll address those areas."
Australia: Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne, Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Stuart MacGill. 12th man: Brad Hodge.
World XI (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Andrew Flintoff, Shaun Pollock, Mark Boucher, Daniel Vettori, Steve Harmison, Muttiah Muralitharan.
First Published: Oct 13, 2005 18:16 IST