Adelaide, Dec 16 (IANS) Australia skipper Tim Paine expects Steve Smith to be fit for the first Test of the four-match series against India that begins Thursday, adding that the Aussie batting mainstay’s absence from the nets on Wednesday due to stiff back could be a blessing in disguise.
“Obviously Dave (David Warner) won’t be there but we expect Steve (Smith) to be there. Steve has obviously had a stiff back number of times before and you do when you bat at training as much as Steve does but look, his preparation has been very good since he has batted for the last week in Adelaide. So having him a day off would be a blessing in disguise,” said Paine while speaking to reporters on the eve of the pink-ball Test to be played at the Adelaide Oval.
“He (Smith) wanted to bat yesterday but look he has played all the one-dayers, he has been batting. Once we got to Adelaide he literally batted for four days straight. His preparation has been very good, he has been batting in the middle under lights, as I said we expect him to play. He has had stiff back before. Yesterday (rest) it was more precautionary. He is in to train today but obviously we will see how he goes today. Whether he is stiff or sore, he gets up and gets through it and scores some runs like he always does,” added Paine.
The skipper also said that despite Warner’s absence, the team would not be dissimilar to what it looked last summer (2019-20 season) when Australia won all the five Tests they played at home.
“When we take the field tomorrow, we would have loved to have Dave (Warner) there but our team won’t be dissimilar to what it looked last summer. We had a consistent team for a certain period of time and that helps us perform well.”
The 36-year-old also said he has been speaking to Joe Burns, the Australia opener who is enduring poor form this season.
“I have been speaking to Joe and I don’t think he is lacking confidence. He is obviously looking forward to this Test match, his build-up in terms of runs hasn’t been great. But again if you look at the work he has done in Test cricket, it has been very good. He averages just over 40 in Test cricket. So if Joe walks out to bat tomorrow, we have full confidence in him doing the job, there is no doubt about that,” said the Australia captain.
He further said that stability within the team is very important.
“Stability in good cricket teams and sports teams is obviously important. That is something we have tried to build over the last two years, try and have that stability around selection. It takes the worry out of certain players. Obviously, there is always going to be noise externally about the first Test and what team we are picking but internally we have been pretty clear for a while and things have changed a little bit with injury but I think as I said tomorrow you will probably see a very similar side walk out that finished the summer last year in Australia,” said Paine.