Australia skipper Steven Smith ready for `new era`
Newly-appointed Australia captain Steven Smith said he was ready for a "new era" as he prepared to lead them for the first time since Michael Clarke`s retirement.
London: Newly-appointed Australia captain Steven Smith said he was ready for a "new era" as he prepared to lead them for the first time since Michael Clarke`s retirement.
Australia face Ireland in Belfast on Thursday in what will be the first one-day international since beating New Zealand in the World Cup final in Melbourne in March.
It will also be Australia`s first match since Clarke retired from all international cricket after the fifth and final Test against England at The Oval last week.
Australia won by an innings and 46 runs but victory in south London came too late to save the Ashes, with England winning the five-match series 3-2.
The 26-year-old Smith, who had deputised as skipper in both Test and one-day cricket when Clarke was injured, was long seen as Australia`s captain in waiting and is looking forward to taking up the role full time.
"I`m very excited," Smith told travelling Australian media in Belfast on Wednesday.
"Obviously, I`ve known for a little while now that I was going to be taking over the one-day squad, so I`ve been working pretty hard and preparing (for) everything coming up,"
He added: "The last time this group was together, we won a World Cup, so I don`t think we have to change a whole heap. We`re currently No.1 in the world. I think for us now, it`s just about raising that bar and continuing to get better each day."
Although Australia`s squad contains several World Cup-winners in Smith, David Warner, Shane Watson, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc, it also includes the likes of uncapped players such as Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis.
"I guess it`s a new era in a way for Australian cricket," said Smith. "But they`re really excited and I`m really excited to see them do well on this tour."And Smith added the presence of the newcomers could help ease the pain of an Ashes defeat.
"It`s been a tough tour for us. It`s disappointing to have lost the Ashes," Smith said.
"(But we have a) new group now with some younger, newer guys who hopefully can bring some exuberance and energy to help lift the spirits a bit and help get back on track (and) hopefully start my career in captaincy on this one-day tour on a winning note."
Ireland, however, have a deserved reputation as one-day giant-killers, although they`ve yet to beat Australia.
The non-Test nation only missed out on a place in the World Cup quarter-finals on net run-rate, being pipped to a last eight place by a West Indies team they beat in pool play.
"I think they`re an improving side," Smith said. "They`ve got some good players that can take a game away from you a little bit.
"We`re going to continue to try and emulate what we did in the World Cup."
With Aaron Finch currently sidelined with a broken foot, Burns is set to make his ODI debut on Thursday, having made his Test bow against India in Melbourne in December.
Impressing at one-day level could help bolster Burns`s chances of filling the spot at the top of the Test order left vacant by the retirement of Chris Rogers.
"You`ve seen (chief selector) Rod Marsh say it before -- if you`re scoring runs at the one-day international level, you can put your hand up for other formats of the game as well," said Smith.
The Ireland fixture precedes Australia`s lone Twenty20 international against England in Cardiff on August 31. Smith`s men then face their Ashes conquerors in a five-match one-day series starting in Southampton on September 3.