Symonds inclusion could backfire, says Smith

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2007, 8:42 [IST]
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BASSETERRE, St Kitts (AFP):South African skipper Graeme Smith believes Australia's decision to play all-rounder Andrew Symonds in Saturday's key World Cup clash could backfire.

"We had planned that he (Symonds) was going to play, so it will be interesting to see who they leave out. It's going to be risky, he hasn't played much for a while now," said Smith ahead of Saturday's clash at Warner Park.

Australia, bdding for third World Cup title in a row, named Symonds in their team for the highly-charged Group A clash which will decide who tops the group and carry two invaluable points into the Super Eights.

Smith believes Symonds, who has recently undergone arm surgery, might struggle.

"He is going into a game with a lot of unknowns about him and he is going to be carrying a lot of responsibility. We're prepared for it and we'll take it as it comes," said Smith.

The South Africa skipper believes Saturday's match between the two bitter rivals could be a mouth-watering contest.

"Everyone has been looking forward to this game for a period of time now. Back home, in Australia, and everyone in St. Kitts has been excited about the prospects of this game. It certainly has the potential to be a cracker.

"Both teams have an awesome amount of talent, an awesome amount of respect for each other, and the quality of the way of the wicket's played, the ground, it bodes well for a big game."

Smith was confidence of his team's chances.

"We are here to win, the game is not going to define the World Cup, but it's an important match. As a team, we're pretty relaxed about things.

"Saturday is our next obstacle, we're pretty focused on it, we want to do well in it, and then we move on to Guyana. You have to break up this World Cup into different bits, and that's what we've done. This is part of our first phase."

Smith said his team has put behind the bitter results against Australia in the past.

"There has been one or two disappointing losses in the past, but they're things that we've learned from and I think this team is quite unique from teams that have played in past environments," he said.

"At any World Cup you're going to require a little bit of luck and there's no doubt in my mind that we have the potential to perform well agaist Australia and the rest of the World Cup.

"The ground here is small, there are certain bits of the ground you can manipulate, but at the end of the day both teams have to play on it. It's about who adapts to the conditions best."

When asked would it be easy to face Shaun Tait than the potent Brett Lee, not in the squad after suffering ankle injury, Snmith said: "Brett is a world-class cricketer. His run over the last two years has been brilliant. So he's going to be huge loss for them.

"Australia seem to use Tait in a similar manner, as more of an aggressive, attacking bowler. He's a little bit less consistent but has the ability to pick up wickets, but he also has the ability to go for runs."

Smith agreed fielding would play a crucial part in the big game.

"With two teams as close as we are, little things can make a massive difference. Both teams have some remarkable fielders, stopping 20-30 runs is crucial to winning the game. Fielding is going to play a massive part."

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