We're focused: Smith

We're focused: Smith

Australia skipper Steve Smith on Thursday said this team is not distracted by the ongoing pay row with the Cricket Australia and they are determined to kick off the Champions Trophy on a high.

“No,” said Smith when asked if the pay dispute has disrupted the team’s build-up. “The guys have been great. We know that the ACA (Australian Cricketers Association) is handling everything back home. And for us, our focus is on this tournament, and it needs to be, because we're coming up against some good opposition. It's a very cut-throat tournament. And you need to be switched on the whole time. So the boys are focused on that.”


Over the last year or so, Australia has seen its top players, especially bowlers, suffer plenty of injuries that has not allowed them the luxury of playing a settled line-up. Now with their best pace quartet of Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins back, Australia wear a very potent look. Smith was thrilled to have his best squad for an event as big as CT.

“It's nice. You always want to be playing your best team in big tournaments. So guys have stood up. And I'm excited about the squad we've got here. And as I said, I'm excited to get going tomorrow. We certainly hold ourselves very highly in these tournaments. We've got a very good record in the ICC tournaments over the last, I guess, 10 to 15 years. So we work our hardest in these tournaments to try and win them. And we've got a good group of players here to do that.”

New Zealand hold the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy after beating Australia 2-0 earlier this year. Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson, however, felt Aussies will be far more dangerous come Friday. “They are a very good side. We played each other a lot in recent times — home and away. And so it will be nice, I guess, to play at a neutral venue, something slightly different.”

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