Vaughan feels Smith's T20 WC spot at risk without opening role

February 21, 2024
Michael Vaughan believes that if veteran batter Steve Smith isn't utilised as an opener in the shorter format

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Former England captain Michael Vaughan believes that if veteran batter Steve Smith isn’t utilised as an opener in the shorter format, his spot in the squad for the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and United States in June could be at risk.

Australian captain Mitch Marsh’s confirmation that Travis Head and David Warner will be an opening pair for the three-match T20I series against New Zealand, which commences on Wednesday in Wellington, could present difficulties for Smith’s prospects in the upcoming World Cup this year.

“I think his only position really is to open, because he has the skill in the game to maximise that first six overs brilliantly. He is a skilful player,” Vaughan told “But if he is not going to open, I don’t think he should play. If you are going to play him, he bats in the top two, and that is great. He will face 50 balls and get you an 80 or 90.

“If he is not going to open, I don’t see him having an impact in the middle order after the powerplay. You need people who can whack it into the stands from (overs) six to 20. He can do that once he is in, but I think he is a better player in the first six (overs) when there are only two men outside the circle,” he said.

The three-match series against New Zealand is Australia’s final outing in the shorter format before the T20 World Cup in June.

Marsh confirmed on Tuesday that he will bat at No.3 behind Warner and Head in New Zealand T20Is but also said few of the 15-member squad in NZ are expected to play all three matches over the coming six days.

In addition, Australian great Mike Hussey believes selectors are still in the process of refining details, particularly regarding the batting order, adding that No.5 spot could be a headache for the think tank.

“All playing well, we saw during the 50-over World Cup how dynamic (the Warner and Head partnership) can be and if they do get off to a flying start, then it’s pretty hard to sort of stop them,” Hussey said.

“I guess that’s where the next phase of the batting will come into play, really, and what the selectors are thinking there. That is probably going to be the most interesting point for me. I sort of feel like that No.5 spot could be the one that is probably giving them the most headaches,” he added.



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