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Steve Smith’s Form Not A Concern But Australia Must Adapt Well, Feels Mitchell Starc

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Rajkot, Sep 26 (PTI) Steve Smith might be taking a wee bit more time to adjust to sub-continental tracks but his poor returns in the first two ODIs against India is least of concern for the Australian team management, senior speedster Mitchell Starc said on Tuesday.

Usually a prolific scorer against India, Smith has scores of 0 and 41 in the first two ODIs on batting-friendly tracks, having flopped earlier in the Test series in February-March when he could only manage 145 runs across four Tests.

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Starc, who himself is coming back from groin niggle, was speaking ahead of the third and final ODI scheduled on Wednesday.

“No. His (Smith) numbers speak for himself,” Starc replied to a query on Smith’s current form.

“He (Smith) has been a high class player and has been a massive part of all formats for Australia, so no concern there. It is the adjustment factor, coming back to India after a series in South Africa, some guys are coming off a break,” Starc told reporters here ahead of Australia’s training session at the Saurashtra Cricket Stadium.

Starc, who might make a comeback in the third gamem then underlined the reasons for Australia’s back-to-back defeats in Mohali and Indore.

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“I think we have seen the wickets change throughout both the games, depending on who batted first and in different places. Spin was a massive factor in the second innings the other night (in Indore). We played pretty well under lights in Mohali,” Starc said.

The left-arm pacer said conditions are still proving challenging for Australian touring party, which comprises of a few fresh faces such as left-arm bowler Spencer Johnson.

“We have got a lot of guys with IPL experience, we know that the wickets are going to be very different through the night and day, depending on which part of India we play as well — not too many grounds we have played back to back games so, conditions are going to play a part,” he said.

Starc conceded that Rohit Sharma’s India are favourites to win the World Cup while adding that adaptability will be key for Australia to find their form.

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“We have used quite a wide squad of players, whether that be managing players or players coming back from injury, trying different combinations and what not,” he said.

The pacer admitted that Australia’s current form isn’t ideal in the run-up to a marquee event.

“Obviously, leading into the World Cup, it is not a position we want to be in but plenty to play for tomorrow — what the make-up of our team looks like, what we want to take into our World Cup campaign.”

Starc believes that the third ODI and the two subsequent warm-up matches will give them enough time to get ready for the tournament proper.

“We have got two more opportunities after this game, before the World Cup — another chance to be accustomed to the conditions and adapt to what is being thrown at us against probably the favourites for the World Cup. It is a big day for both teams tomorrow,” Starc added.

Starc said like him, Glenn Maxwell too has his sights set on the World Cup.

“He (Maxwell) is on track as well. I am not sure about his particular timeline but no doubt he will be looking to make an impact as soon as he gets his chance,” Starc said.

“He has got a wealth of experience over here through IPL, through multiple tours. He is certainly an x-factor no matter whichever team he plays for. This is his third one-day World Cup, he is an x-factor for us who can take the game on.

“His ability with the ball, particularly in these conditions adds to another option in the bowling department as well. He seems in good spirits, (but) his return I am not sure what that looks like for this week but certainly on track for the World Cup,” Starc added.

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