Sydney: Australian coach Tim Nielsen has defended his opening batsmen, who have been criticized for their slow scoring against Zimbabwe, saying that they did as asked and will continue to stick to their World Cup plans.
Shane Watson (79 off 92 balls) and Brad Haddin (29 off 66) were slow out of the blocks in Australia’s opening game against the World No.11-ranked Africans on February 21.
“I thought they played well in game one. Everyone had this perception that they went slowly. But if Zimbabwe were going to be competitive against us, they needed to take early wickets with their spinners,” Nielsen said.
“We’re playing the way we think is the right way to play. We’re not going to let how India plays or how England plays or anyone else how they’re playing dictate to us what we’re doing.”
“We’re playing the way we know we play best. We’ve had success over here in the last couple of years playing that way. We saw Brad and Shane up the ante a little bit (on Friday) when the wicket was a bit better and there was good pace on the ball. For all teams the opening batsmen are going to play a big role. We’re no different to that,” he added.
Nielsen further said that the opening partnership would be crucial in the six-week tournament hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
“Every side has shown that. India when they made 300, Sehwag and the top order got the runs. You can certainly fight your way through an innings as New Zealand showed (scoring 206 against Australia after being 6-73) and get to what you hope is a competitive score. But unless your top order sets a platform for the rest of your batting in these conditions, it’s very difficult,” Nielsen said.
“We know if we set a platform with our batting we can have some success doing that,” he added.