Steven Smith is prepared to shelve his attacking mindset and “bore” the batsmen out if that is what is needed to succeed in his first full series as Australia’s Test captain, in Bangladesh in October. Australia will play Tests in Chittagong and Mirpur, their first bilateral series in the country since 2006.
“I think that’s something I’m going to have to adapt to with my captaincy,” Smith said. “In Australia you can be a little bit more attacking. In places on the subcontinent you’ve got to find ways to get batsmen out, you might have to bore them out.
“For me it’s about being adaptable wherever we play. So you might have to be more defensive with that and when the ball starts to spin and reverse swing, that’s when you can attack.”
Smith has led Australia in Tests before, when Michael Clarke was injured for three matches at home against India in 2014-15, but this will be his first assignment as full-time captain. He is taking a new-look squad to Bangladesh, one shorn of the experience of Clarke, Ryan Harris, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Brad Haddin, all of whom retired at various points during Australia’s tour of England, where the Ashes were lost 2-3.
With David Warner unavailable for the Bangladesh tour as well because of a fractured thumb, Smith said he hoped the new Queensland captain Usman Khawaja would take his chance. Khawaja has played nine Tests, the last of which was in the 2013 Ashes, and is making a comeback from a severe knee injury he suffered in December 2014.
“He’s got another opportunity, he’s worked really hard to get back,” Smith said. “He’s had a tough time of it with his knee but he’s back in the squad now and I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings.”
Smith said he had not seen much of the newest addition to Australia’s pace attack – Tasmania’s 30-year old Andrew Fekete, who has played only two seasons of Shield cricket. “I haven’t seen Fekete bowl for a while, he said. “Last time I saw him bowl he got me out in a second XI game and I was part of a hat-trick.”
Fekete made the squad for Bangladesh because Australia rested fast bowlers Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood from the tour. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle make up the rest of the pace attack. Siddle is the most experienced player in the squad, having played 57 Tests, but he made his debut two years after Australia’s last tour to Bangladesh. He hoped his experience of bowling in the subcontinent – six Tests in India and Sri Lanka – would help him succeed in Bangladesh.
“A big part of my game, especially in Australian conditions, has been reverse swing,” Siddle said. “That does benefit me a lot over there, and what I normally do is what I’ll do over there – be patient, build pressure and bowl in the right areas. And I think my experience, not in Bangladesh, but in those conditions, will help.”