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Interview

Shirin Sadikot in Durban

Batting is Steve Smith’s key to Aussie team

Sydney Sixers all-rounder is happy to give up his leg-spin for a while

It’s very hard to maintain consistency in the Twenty20 format, especially in a tournament like the CLT20, against the strongest and most diverse sides from around the world. But one team that has defied that logic in this edition is Sydney Sixers. Australia’s domestic T20 champions are the only team in CLT20 2012 who has won all four of their Group matches.

What makes the Sixers’ undefeated streak more commendable is that they have won games from every position, batting or bowling first. They set up a big total against CSK and defended it, and dismissed teams for low totals and chased them down. In their last group match, against the Mumbai Indians, the Sixers defended a modest total of 136 to register a 12-run win.

Not to mention, they have been exceptional in the field. At the end of their match against MI, clt20.com caught up with a player from Sydney Sixers, who contributes highly in making the Sixers the side they are, with the bat and in the field. He has also undertaken an unknown challenge for the sake of the team’s balance. Steve Smith may have started off as a leg-spinner who could use the long handle well. But now he’s concentrating more on his batting and bats No.5 for the Sixers in this tournament.

You are the only undefeated team in the tournament. What’s the secret?

We’ve been playing some good cricket throughout and we’ve got a good balance right now. Our fast bowlers are doing a tremendous job. Today, Steeve O’Keefe got a chance to toil hard and he did a very good job as well. We’ve looked good as a group and are gelling well. Hopefully, we can have two more games in the tournament and do well in them.

Do you think the Sixers are the most complete team in the tournament?

I just think we have got a good group together. We have our roles well defined. We’ve been told from the start how we have to improve with every game. Tonight our fielding was probably the best it’s been. I think it’s a lot of fun fielding under lights and it’s always more enjoyable.

Don’t you miss bowling at times?

I do, at times. But what’s the need if other guys are doing such great job? It’s great to be able to sit back and watch. It’s nice to be on the hot spots in the field and do a job there.

Do you actually work more on your batting than bowling?

Yes, at the moment, I think that’s the way forward for me to get into the national team. It’s something on which I’m working pretty hard. I know that in the next couple of years my spin bowling will be a big part of my game but not right now. I’m learning to balance both things while I train.

How do you feel about batting higher up the order?

That’s the role I’ve played in this tournament and I’m enjoying it. It’s good to come in the middle overs and then finish it off in the end. It’s a role that I’ve wanted to play for a long time and I’m getting better at it as well. Hopefully, I can continue improving in that aspect of my game and keep performing.

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