x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Australia to draw inspiration from snooker champion

Now that Neil Robertson has achieved the improbable by becoming the first to win the World Championship, it is the turn of the cricketers to break their own duck.

Given their indifferent form in the format to date, Australia arrived in the Caribbean with about as much hope of ending the month as the world champions as they did of one of their compatriots doing the same in snooker. Now that Neil Robertson has achieved the improbable by becoming the first Australian to win the snooker's World Championship, it is the turn of Michael Clarke, the Twenty20 team captain, and his side to break their own duck.

After his win in Sheffield, Robertson reflected that if his success did not get Australians into snooker, then nothing would. Clarke had similar sentiments yesterday, suggesting a maiden success at the World Twenty20 is what is needed for the people to start taking the 20-over game seriously back at home. "I think now there's a world championship, that plays a big part [in Twenty20 no longer being regarded as merely a hit-and-giggle]," the middle-order batsman said at yesterday's press conference. "When I played in my first Twenty20 match, we played against New Zealand and they were growing moustaches, not cutting their hair and wearing 1960s outfits to play the games.

"Everybody is taking the game a lot more seriously now and in tournaments like this, you want to do well. We haven't done as well as we would like but we've started well." Australia go into today's meeting with Bangladesh on a high after their opening 34-run win over Pakistan, the defending champions, on Sunday. Only a substantial victory will keep Bangladesh in the competition, but the Australians will still be wary of the threat posed by Mohammed Ashraful, the dimunitive batsman.

The 25-year-old former captain made 65 from 49 balls in their opening defeat to Pakistan, and was the destroyer-in-chief when Bangladesh famously shocked the Australians in a one-day match in Cardiff in 2005. * Compiled by Paul Radley, with agencies Australia v Bangladesh, 9pm, on CricOne