Out-of-favour Hauritz gets Afridi’s backing

Updated: May 01, 2010, 13:46 PM IST

Gros Islet: Nathan Hauritz found an unlikely ally in Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi, who said dropping the spinner could prove costly for Australia.

Australia play their opening match of the World Twenty20 against defending champions Pakistan here Sunday.

Hauritz did not take a wicket in two practice games at Beausejour Cricket Ground, where the pitch is slow and favourable to turn, and looks likely to miss out for the crucial match against Afridi’s side.

The chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch also indicated that all-rounder Steve Smith and part-time spinners Michael Clarke and David Hussey could give the side adequate cover.

But Afridi, who took 4-24 in a masterful spin-bowling display in a practice match against Zimbabwe on the same ground, said that specialist spinners would be a must in St Lucia.

“I think Australia should go with regular spinners on this track, it’s not easy to bowl spin, you should be very focused,” Afridi was quoted as saying.

“I’m not saying it’s totally a spinning track, if you’ve got a good experienced spinner they know how to bowl and where to bowl. I think he’s (Hauritz) been doing well for the last couple of months and I think on this type of track he will be very difficult for the opposition.”

Pakistan will field at least two specialist spinners and two part-timers while Bangladesh, the other team in Australia’s group, will also rely on tweakers to win through to the super eight stage.