Australian batsman Steve Smith knows his World Cup hopes are dangling by a thread, but he hopes some more dominant performances against England will help revive his one-day career.
Smith hasn’t featured in Australia’s ODI team since January 13 last year.
But with explosive opener David Warner rested for the final two games of the current series, Smith has earned a long-awaited recall.
The 24-year-old played an important role in Australia’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash earlier this summer, averaging 40.9 with the bat to help shore up the team’s middle order.
Now he wants to inflict more pain on England, who suffered a fresh blow this week when paceman Boyd Rankin was ruled out of Friday’s one-day clash at the WACA due to a hamstring injury.
Smith has averaged just 21.1 over his 33 ODIs, but he now has a golden chance to show selectors why they need to include him in the 2015 World Cup squad.
“The World Cup is obviously still a fair way away, but every opportunity you get, you’ve got to try and impress,” Smith said on Wednesday after facing some Mitchell Johnson missiles in the WACA nets.
“I haven’t played for a while now so hopefully I can come out and make an impact and hopefully win a couple of games for Australia.
“I’ve definitely improved my skills over the past 18 months.
“Shot selection’s a big one, as well as patience and just tightening up my technique.
“All those three things have contributed to a relatively successful summer. I’ve just got to continue improving in all those facets.”
Rankin first injured his hamstring while making his Test debut in Sydney earlier this month.
The 201cm giant claimed an underwhelming 0-53 and 1-36 in his two one-day appearances this series, but England are hopeful he will be fit to return for the final one-dayer in Adelaide on Sunday.
England are in danger of matching their worst ever losing run.
Their current streak, which started during the final match of their home one-day series against Australia, stands at nine.
If they lose in Perth on Friday, the 10-match losing streak would equal the records they set in 1993 and 2001.
And with three Twenty20s to follow the one-day series, that losing run might end up extending to 14.
“I think it would be nice,” Smith replied when asked about the prospect of sending England home without a win.
“Every time you play you’re trying to win every game, so to win 5-0 (in this series) would be amazing.”
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