Australian skipper Steven Smith in his fresh statement has insisted that his team is more focused towards the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, which according to him is a more important event, as the 18-day tournament has kicked off with the match between hosts England and Mashrafe Bin Mortaza-led Bangladesh at The Oval on June 1.
Australia is scheduled to play their tournament opener against arch-rivals New Zealand on June 2nd at Edgbaston in Birmingham which would be further boosted by the quartet of pace including Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson.
“For us, we’re focusing on this tournament. Obviously there are some things going on in the background. But for me it’s about focusing on this tournament,” Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Having the significant results at their home grounds, respectively, in two Chappell-Hadlee series, Australia and New Zealand would prove challenging for each other which is packed with quality players respectively.
Smith has further praised the Kiwis bowlers while stating his side has to be very attentive while facing the pacers.
“They’ve got some good new-ball bowlers who can swing the ball around, and if there’s a bit there we’ll have to be quite watchful,” Smith concluded.
As the pay dispute has further flared the tempers within the two parties in Australia, Smith believes the global tournaments plays a decisive role which further needs complete attention – to work hard in a bid to bring glory to the nation.
“These tournaments only come around every four years – or two years, with the World Cup – so these are the big tournaments and the ones you really want to win,” Smith remarked.
As the negotiations seemed have taken far end, the Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) have been in the news for all the wrong reasons which didn’t sit well with the players itself.
“My focus is on that and I’ll let the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) handle everything else outside of that,” Smith maintained.
As the cricket becomes sole focus for all eight teams, Smith revealed he is looking forward to giving best as a player and as a unit in the England and Wales while suggestion players’ association can take care of the matter which has further created a rift between two associations.
As far as the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is concerned, Smith feels ACA and Cricket Australia (CA) would be on the same page soon.
“We’re certainly looking to do the same sort of stuff in this new agreement. ACA is handling that and I’m sure they’ll come to an agreement soon,” Smith said during the press conference.
Interestingly, the players are aware of the recent controversy which draws the flak from the public in Australia before former players gave their piece of advice and verdict on the pay dispute.
“I think if we look back at the last MoU, players gave back $10 million to grassroots cricket, which is quite significant,” Smith added.
Smith says getting back to the 50-over format takes some time, as Australian squad is further packed with power hitters, who can change the complexion of the game.
“It takes a little bit of time, I think. We’ve been playing a lot of white-ball cricket, so I guess that helps. You just have to realise that 50 overs is a lot longer than 20 [overs],” Smith revealed.
In their warm-up fixture against Pakistan in Birmingham on Monday (May 29), Australia faced 10.2 overs, as the match was abandoned due to the rain. Before the skies opened up, Australia posted 57 for one on the board.
Australia is placed in Group A of the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy alongside Bangladesh, New Zealand and England.