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Steven Smith upbeat about Australia's future

Steven Smith upbeat about Australia's future
Steven Smith is absolutely thrilled as he gets ready to lead the Australian side for the first time as a full-term skipper of the team.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Australia's newly appointed captain Steven Smith is absolutely thrilled as he gets ready to lead his side for the first time as a full-term skipper of the team.

Thursday's One-Day International clash against Ireland in Belfast will be Australia's first international match since Clarke's retirement and Smith exuded confidence on his new-look side.

"The last time this group was together, we won a World Cup, so I don't think we have to change a whole heap,” said Smith.

“We're currently number one in the world. I think for us now, it's just about raising that bar and continuing to get better each day."

While the Australian side does include players who experienced World Cup glory earlier this year, there are inexperienced players in the side as well, including the uncapped duo of 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."

After the Test series against India at home last summer, Smith had been touted to be the next captain of Australia with the 25-year-old also standing in for the injured Clarke in that series.

Smith also led the team during the ODIs that followed the India Tests that further hinted at the selectors’ plans for the future.

Having known about his impending leadership role in advance, Smith stated that he had been able to organize himself for the big responsibility.

“I'm very excited.

"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.”

Australia have had a disappointing tour of England thus far, having lost the Ashes series.

Although the scoreline of the Test series read 3-2 in favor of England, it didn’t reflect the way Australia were dominated in the third and fourth Tests although the visitors managed to end on a high with an emphatic win in the fifth Test.

Although results have been unsatisfactory so far, Smith hopes to change the fortunes of his side in the limited overs leg that kicks off on Thursday.

"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.”

Although the match against Ireland gives Australia the chance to settle into a rhythm before the encounters against England, Smith refused to underestimate William Porterfield’s men.

With three wins in the group stages of the World Cup this year, Ireland came close to qualifying for the knockout stages before being undone by their weaker net run-rate.

Smith was all praise for Ireland’s excellent progress as an international team and maintained that Australia will have to be at their best to win.

“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."

After the clash against Ireland, Australia will face England on Monday for the solitary Twenty20 International before the Ashes rivals face off in a five-match ODI series starting on 3rd September.

© Cricket World 2015