Australian captain Steve Smith is ready to part ways with Australia’s mantra of aggressive cricket in Bangladesh and is prepared to even “bore” batsmen out if it reaps him a series victory on his first Test tour as captain.
While taking on the world No.9 nation appears a soft landing for Smith, there will be many banana peels for Australia to avoid given Bangladesh’s recent improvement and his team’s poor recent record in Asia and the subcontinent, reports, Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian newspaper.
Australia have lost four of their past five series in the region, winning just one of their past 15 Tests, including whitewashes against India in 2010 and 2013 and last year against Pakistan in the Middle East.
Bangladesh have been one of the great underachievers in world cricket but have won their past three one-day international series, against South Africa, India and Pakistan.
They were also very competitive against the Proteas in their most recent Test series, which finished in a 0-0 draw due to heavy rain.
When Smith deputised for Michael Clarke last summer he pledged to continue leading with aggression but he showed pragmatism during the Boxing Day Test by refusing to make a bold declaration and leaving the door ajar for India.
And he will not be afraid to deviate from the traditional Australian play book next month either. Should Smith follow through with that method, it will provide an instant point of difference to his predecessor.
“I think that’s something I’m going to have to adapt to with my captaincy,” Smith said in an appearance for the Sydney Sixers as an ambassador for the Sony Foundation’s You Can Program, which aims to raise funds and awareness for youth cancer.
“In Australia you can be a little bit more attacking, in places on the subcontinent you’ve got to find ways to get batsmen out, you might have to bore them out. For me it’s about being adaptable wherever we play.”
Attacking fields are the norm with the new ball at home but Smith said that was also the best time to bat on the subcontinent.
“So you might have to be more defensive with that and when the ball starts to spin and reverse swing that’s when you can attack,” Smith said.
The emphasis on reverse swing could pave the way for tour bolter Andrew Fekete to make his Test debut. Even Smith has not seen much of the Tasmanian quick.
“I haven’t seen Fekete bowl for a while, last time I saw him bowl he got me out in a second XI game and I was part of a hat-trick,” Smith said.
Smith tipped recalled batsman Usman Khawaja to make a big impact, echoing the views of coach Darren Lehmann.
Khawaja is on the comeback trail from a knee reconstruction that sidelined him for the second half of last summer.
“He’s got another opportunity, he’s worked really hard to get back,” Smith said.
“He’s had a tough time of it with his knee but he’s back in the squad now and I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings.”