Cricket News: Will Steve Smith be fit for the World Cup? | Steve Smith back batting in the nets ahead of the World Cup
In exciting news for Australia fans, Steve Smith posted footage of his first net session since being sidelined by a wrist injury sustained during the 2023 Ashes series.
Smith, whose ability against spin makes him a vital cog in Australia’s lineup, took to Instagram to share the update from NSW’s Cricket Central facility at Sydney Olympic Park. “A good first hit out today in the nets, finally my wrist is starting to feel good,” he wrote.
“It’s [the wrist] been annoying for a while. I hit them good today so hopefully some positive signs for what’s coming up.”
Steve Smith vital to Australia’s hopes in the upcoming World Cup
While Australia’s defeat in the third ODI against South Africa on September 12 is not cause for panic, it served as a reminder of Smith’s importance. A big question mark around Australia’s credentials is how their middle order in particular starts against spin, which will no doubt come under the microscope in the upcoming World Cup in India.
Australia, who were 140/1 in the 15th over in pursuit of 339 at Potchefstroom, went on to lose 9/87 in less than 20 overs. Spinners Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj took a combined 4/68 off 17 overs.
“Hopefully we learn a lot from it,” said stand-in captain Mitchell Marsh at the post-match presentation. “There’s no doubt we’ll be exposed to those conditions throughout the World Cup and we’ll have to be better. But I think the last 12 to 18 months, it’s our second loss of that period and we have generally played spin really well. It’s an area that we’ve thoroughly improved in. So tonight may be a little slip-up and hopefully we can rectify that in the next game.”
Smith is crucial to Australia’s play against spin. In 11 ODIs in India, Smith has scored 421 runs at an average of 42.10 and strike rate touching 90.
Should he hold the fort, Australia will be a tough beat in the World Cup given the powerful players in the squad. This also enhances the case for Marnus Labuschagne – another technically superior player who could provide some stability to the lineup.
In terms of what’s to come ahead of the World Cup, Australia play two more ODIs in South Africa before three ODIs against India. They will then play Netherlands in a warm-up match on September 30 before meeting Pakistan in their second and final warm-up on October 3.
Australia’s World Cup schedule
- 8th October: v India, Chennai
- 12th October: v South Africa, Lucknow
- 16th October: v Sri Lanka, Lucknow
- 20th October: v Pakistan, Bengaluru
- 25th October: v Netherlands, Delhi
- 28th October: v New Zealand, Dharamsala
- 4th November: v England, Ahmedabad
- 7th November: v Afghanistan, Mumbai
- 11th November: v Bangladesh, Pune
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