Cricket-Australia's Finch expects big impact from '360 degree' Smith


FILE PHOTO: Cricket - Third One Day International - England v Australia - Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester - September 16, 2020 Australia's Aaron Finch REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff/Pool

(Reuters) - Steve Smith may not count as a power-hitter but Australia captain Aaron Finch expects the veteran batsman to make a big impact at the Twenty20 World Cup which gets underway in Muscat on Sunday.

Finch leads a slightly undercooked Australia side after several frontline players skipped their recent white-ball tours of West Indies and Bangladesh.

Smith sat out the tours to recover from an elbow injury and has since had a minor role for his Delhi franchise, who got knocked out in the Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff on Wednesday.

"He's someone who can be really adaptable through that middle overs," Finch said at a pre-World Cup media session on Thursday.

"Having his 360 (degree) ability around the ground, to play spin so well, and (being) an unbelievable fielder ... he provides us with a lot of options, and a lot of flexibility."

Known for his unusual trigger movement at the crease, Smith's approach to scoring maybe different but it was equally, if not more, effective, argued Finch.

"He's someone who can really go about T20 cricket a little bit different to your general guys who stand there and try and clear the rope.

"He's someone who can manipulate the ball to different areas and get a really similar result, and sometimes even better results just by doing it a little different way."

Australia, chasing their maiden Twenty20 World Cup title, will face South Africa in the first Super 12 stage match in Dubai on Oct. 23.

For their trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, the incentive would be to try and become world champions in two formats having won the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year.

New Zealand have added former fast bowler Shane Bond to their coaching staff for the tournament.

"We have Bondy back in the fold and with all this experience that he's had from around the world, particularly in this part of the world with Mumbai (Indians)," New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said referring to Bond's stints with the IPL franchise.

"Looking forward to hearing what he has to say and getting the knowledge that he has."

New Zealand begin their campaign against former champions Pakistan on Oct. 26.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Toby Davis)

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