20 September 2012 - 08:58pm IST
by R Kaushik in Colombo
Having brushed aside Ireland on Wednesday (September 19), Australia’s immediate goal is to see where it stands against stronger opposition when it takes on the West Indies in its final Group B league match of the ICC World Twenty20 2012 on Saturday (September 22) night.
Australia, its coach Mickey Arthur said, had broken the tournament down into four phases, and is taking it one phase at a time. “Every game is a big game in this competition,” Arthur said during Thursday night’s practice session aimed at ironing out chinks in the ground fielding. “We have broken this competition down into four phases, we are only in phase one. It’s really important for us to get that momentum. West Indies is a very, very dangerous side in this form of the game, as we all know. We have to be on the money. We see this as a really good test for us. We want to keep the momentum going and take some good momentum with us into the next phase of the competition.”
“The West Indies are a pretty well rounded side now, they are starting to play particularly well in this format,” Arthur said. “They are very dangerous with the bat and they have got numerous match-winners, which you want in your side. Match-winners are massively in demand in T20 cricket. But we know if we can put them under pressure, we can force them into mistakes. And as good as they can be, they can be as bad as they can be as well. We need to put them under enough pressure to make sure we keep them under the pump.”
Arthur said while the seven-wicket victory against Ireland on Wednesday was impressive, there was still work to be done. “We wanted to put down the marker for the tournament. We wanted to show some really good intent last night, which I think we did,” Arthur said, “but our fielding was sub-standard and that’s something we need to work on.
“I think it is a little bit of an indifferent outfield. We hadn’t had a proper fielding session on it before the game. Our guys found the ball bobbled just a little bit, it was a little quicker than we thought it was. The outfielders felt the ball hit their hand before they sort of knew it. These are things we got to work on and get used to.”
Apart from the batting of Chris Gayle – “We have a few plans for him” – Australia must also contend with Sunil Narine. “Narine is a great operator,” acknowledged Arthur. “We know that, we played a full series against the West Indies earlier this year on wickets that really turned, and we battled with Narine, to be honest, at the start. But we got better and better against him as it progressed. I don’t think it is going to turn as much here, so that might give us an option to maybe put Narine under just a little bit of pressure. But we will be better for the fact that we played him in that series over there.”
Arthur brushed away suggestions that Australia wasn’t a Twenty20 force. “A lot of the time, we have been experimenting,” he said, referring to a slew of defeats. “In a very busy international summer back home, you finish the Tests and start the one-dayers. Sandwiched in between, you have got two T20 games. What we have done in the past is that the major players haven’t played this form because we have used this to blood some younger players and have a look at some other guys. And, you must remember, the guys got to the final of the last World Cup. It doesn’t bother us. We know that we have go to and play the best we can and if we do that, we will be fine.”