Hill-led Australia face an uphill task

Published: Saturday, February 16, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Michael Hill-led Aussie Colts will head to Malaysia, aiming to replicate the success of their senior side in recent ICC competitions and becoming the first team to win the tournament three times.

Having crashed out of the 2006 issue at the semi-final stage, where they lost by 163 runs to eventual winners Pakistan, Hill along with Phillip Hughes, Kumar Sarna and Jeremy Smith will all have to perform to the best of their ability if Australia is to be successful in the competition.

The 5-0 thrashing the Aussies received at the hands of Pakistan last Oct still haunts 'em. The team struggled to adapt to local condition. This rout overshadowed their 3-2 series win (home) in Apr 2007.

However the team has experienced conditions in Malaysia, having taken on Malaysia U-19 in two matches last year, and Australia's domestic U-19 championships in December ensured that players have recent experience of playing in an event format. They could be one of the teams to beat at this event.

Watch out:

Philip Hughes: He has done well at first-class level for New South Wales this season and became the youngest player since Michael Clarke to make his first-class debut for his state, scoring fifty against Tasmania, back in Nov 2007. His 324 runs was instrumental in the Aussie Colts' 3-2 home ODI series win against Pak.

Daniel Burns: Left-arm spinner from NSW was a silver lining in the dark clouds during Aussie Colts 5-0 loss against Pak. He plucked a handful of wickets on a spinner-friendly Pak strips. Burns could potentially form a potent spin partnership with Clive Rose, another slow left armer, who is from Victoria.

Kumar Sarna: An aggressive opening batsman who idolises Tendulkar. Delhi-born but spent his adolescence in Australia is keen to make it to senior national squad.

Steven Smith: He made his debut at senior level for New South Wales in the Ford Ranger One Day Cup in December, will also be an important player.

Squad: Michael Hill (capt), Daniel Burns, Michael Cranmer, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Phillip Hughes, David King, Dominic O'Brien, Kirk Pascoe, James Pattinson, Clive Rose, Anant Sarna, Jeremy Smith, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Francis and Christopher Quelch.

Aussie Colts in Cup events so far:

1988: Champions; 1998: 2nd in Super League pool; 2000: Semi-final; 2002: Champions; 2004: Plate R-up; 2006: Semi-final.


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