Australia unlikely to pick pace quartet for Champions Trophy opener

“I don’t think we’ll end up going with the four big quicks”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Australia captain Steve Smith has said that it is unlikely all four members of the pace quartet will be selected for their Champions Trophy opener against New Zealand on Friday.

There has been a lot of speculation about Australia fielding the fearsome foursome, which consists of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson, in their squad during the tournament.

While the four seamers have never played a game together, Smith insists that there is a very slim chance that all of them will play alongside each other against the Black Caps at Edgbaston.

“We’re going to have a look at the conditions in the morning, see what the forecast is like, and we’ll decide our final XI then,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll end up going with the four big quicks. We’ve got a couple of options there as all-rounders.

“(Marcus) Stoinis did very well in New Zealand in the last series, and Hastings has done very well for us over in these conditions. He’s a little bit slower than the others and hits the seam and has some good skills throughout the middle as well.”

Stoinis excelled against New Zealand in an ODI in Auckland earlier this year, where he took a three-wicket haul and followed it up with a career-best knock of 146 not out.

The 27-year-old also recently recovered from a shoulder injury he sustained while playing for the Kings XI Punjab at the Indian Premier League (IPL).

When questioned about the Perth native, Smith made it clear that his past performance against New Zealand will bear no precedence on his selection for Friday’s game.

The Australian skipper added that Stoinis has been bowling well and has not been exhibiting any signs of being troubled by the shoulder injury he suffered in India.

“It probably doesn’t matter a great deal,” Smith said. “It’s obviously slightly different conditions here to New Zealand … different ground, different circumstances. A few guys are back in the team. So we’ll wait and see what we feel is the best option tomorrow.

“He actually felt just as quick as some of the other quicks, to be honest, in the nets. He’s coming along nicely.”

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