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I am not in a bad place at captaincy: Smith

Kolkata, Sep 20 (IANS) Ahead of his 100th One-Day International (ODI) at the Eden Gardens here on Thursday, Australia skipper Steve Smith reacted his predecessor Michael Clarke’s remark that his leadership is being challenged, saying he is not “in a bad place” at the moment.

“I don’t think I am in a bad place in my captaincy. Obviously, results haven’t been as we liked for a little while and that’s something we are trying to rectify. Guys are working hard and are ensuring that the job is done out there,” Smith told reporters before the the second ODI.

As captain of the ODI side, the 28-year old has won 23 matches and lost 16 in the 42 games he was in-charge so far between 2015-2017. Compared to Clarke, who captained Australia between 2008-2015, in white-ball cricket, Smith’s winning percentage is 58.97 to the former’s 70.42.

Clarke on Tuesday had said Smith’s captaincy is “being challenged” and that he needs to find a way to win cricket matches.

The Aussies are trailing 0-1 in the five-match series and have not been in good form lately bowing out in the group stages of the ICC Champions Trophy.

“It’s disappointing start the series with a loss but we have another game tomorrow and we will try and turn things around,” Smith said.

Asked which would he pick as his best innings going into a century of ODIs, Smith said his ton (105) against India in the 2015 World Cup semi-final was one of his better knocks.

“My most memorable innings would be the 100 I scored in the SCG in the semifinal against India. Pretty big game, it was good to stand up and get to score that, we lost a wicket pretty early and I was able to forge a partnership with (Aaron) Finch and ya that’s one my better hundreds in a big occasion,” the Australian captain said.

Smith started as a leg-spinner in his career to then transform himself into one of the world’s finest batsmen.

Talking about his evolution as a player, he said: “I think I have evolved a lot as a white ball player. When I started playing ODI cricket, my first 30 odd games, I’ve played more as a bowler. So had to change a bit there. Been batting at No 3 for a while now. So had to find the right tempo of game, whether it’s hitting the fielders in the deep or knowing the right time to hit a boundary.

“I think you learn as you play and ya excited to be playing my 100th game tomorrow.”

The skipper also said he is still learning as a No.3 batsman.

“I am still learning. I think you’re always learning and trying to get better. You are never satisfied and I’ve learnt a long along the way.”

Coming to the match on Thursday, Smith said they are not concerned about playing spin and are ready to take on the Indians.

“I think ODI cricket is different to Test cricket. The other day it was a shortened game. I think in 50 overs we got a lot longer to see the bowlers and knock them to the men in the outfield and get an opportunity getting to the innings. The other day, it was more like a T20 game. So if it’s 50 overs guys will have a chance to give into their groove and it won’t be an issue.”

Australia will have to play without the services of pacers Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and batsman Aaron Finch on Thursday.

“It’s never ideal but that’s part of the game. Starc, Hazlewood and Finch are out, two of our top bowlers. I thought the guys that opened (bowling) the other day, Coulter-NIle and Cummins were exceptional and it’s a good opportunity for guys to put their hands up. We believe in these guys and we have a team here that can hopefully challenge India in the next few games,” Smith said,

–IANS
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