Australia’s resounding win over the West Indies in game one of the Frank Worrell Trophy has got many pundits tipping this team for big things in 2016.
Such was the verve and flair displayed by a young side who are stepping into some big shoes, there is now talk of the likes of Steven Smith and co. defying the doom-mongers who believe they are too inexperienced to compete with the very best.
Bookmakers’ odds on Australia winning the second Test against the West Indies plummeted after their first test victory, with online betting sites like Bet365 offering just 1.08/1 at the time of writing on the Aussies to win, while the West Indies are priced at 26/1.
But who are the key men in the side that is following in the footsteps of Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Chris Rogers, Ryan Harris, Brad Haddin, and Mitchell Johnson, all of whom recently retired? Let’s take a look.
Given his stellar reputation on the world stage, it seems hard to believe that Steven Smith is still only 26 years old. Australia’s captain broke into the ICC’s Official Player Rankings for Test batsmen, and is currently ranked fourth behind Joe Root, AB de Villiers and Kane Williamson with a rating of 874. Smith’s average of 80 and high score of 215 not out have made him an indispensable asset to the side. Australia coach Darren Lehmann will hope he can shake off the knee and hip problems that have dogged him in time for the New Year’s action.