Afridi''s praise of Hauritz unlikely to sway Aussies

ST LUCIA: Nathan Hauritz may have received the support of Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi but he could yet miss Australia''s opening World Twenty20 match against the defending champions.

Early indications are that Australia will do without off-spinner Hauritz when they begin their tournament against Pakistan here on Sunday, a day after the title holders face Bangladesh in Group A at the Beausejour Stadium.

Hauritz has not taken a wicket in either of the team''s warm-up matches, although in Thursday''s fixture against the Windward Islands he found himself bowling against Australia on the way to figures of none for 34 in three overs.

Nevertheless, leg-spinning all-rounder Afridi said of Hauritz: "On these types of tracks he''d be very difficult for the opposition."

But Australia look likely to field Steve Smith, himself a leg-spinning all-rounder, while getting any remaining slow bowling from specialist batsmen such as captain Michael Clarke and David Hussey, both well capable of contributing with bat and ball at this level.

Outsiders Zimbabwe beat Clarke''s men by one run here on Tuesday to revive memories of the Africans'' five-wicket victory over Australia at the inaugural World Twenty20 in Cape Town in 2007.

However, Australia''s chairman of selectors, Andrew Hilditch, told reporters at Beausejour here on Thursday: "We''re in pretty good shape but it''s going to be a big game for us (against Pakistan)."

Australia have plenty of fast bowling options too in Dirk Nannes, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson.

"We''ve obviously got a good pace attack and we''re going to use that in these conditions and in Barbados (where Australia play Bangladesh on Wednesday) as well," Hilditch said.

"We think we''re pretty well placed with spin bowling," the former Test batsman added. "Steve Smith did a really good job, we got good spin out of Michael Clarke and David Hussey and of course Nathan Hauritz. When the conditions are spin-friendly we''ve got the opportunity to play more spinners."

Ryan Harris, due to arrive in St Lucia on Friday as a replacement for injured fast bowler Brett Lee, out of the tournament with a forearm strain, is unlikely to be thrown straight in against Pakistan.