‘Warner, Smith ready for World Cup hostility’
Steve Smith and David Warner are "ready to prove a point" at the World Cup with vice-captain Alex Carey hoping the hostile crowds in England create an "exciting" atmosphere.
Smith and Warner have dodged the spotlight since arriving in London but face a temperature check next Saturday when they bat against England in a practice match.
Smith has set record-low skinfolds and Carey said he struggled to keep up with the former captain when they went for a long run together last week.
"He's running really well and Bull's (Warner) the same," Carey said.
"They're quality athletes, they're quality blokes and they've come back into this squad ready to prove a point, I think.
"'Smudge' (Smith) was hitting the ball really well in Brisbane and David was incredible in the IPL. The characters they are, they're great men.
"I love talking cricket with Steve Smith and David Warner. They're some of Australia's greatest batsmen.
"I captained a warm-up game in Brisbane and I was standing next to Steve Smith, who was a pretty good guy to pick a brain from.
"They've slotted in really well."
Carey played two ODIs in England last year as local fans taunted Australia with sandpaper as Smith and Warner were sidelined through suspension.
"I love playing cricket with a good atmosphere and I have no doubt there's going to be a great atmosphere here," he said.
"It's exciting. The guys are prepared for that."
Meanwhile, Australia will not look to match World Cup favourite England's all-out batting aggression with the reigning champion confident its more balanced game plan can deliver a sixth trophy.
England bowler Mark Wood declared 500 runs was a "realistic target" for his explosive team and tournament director Steve Elworthy last week ordered a redesign of scorecards up to that magical number.
But Australian vice-captain Alex Carey said it would be foolish to abandon the formula that sparked the current eight-match winning streak, against India and Pakistan, in search of an extra batting gear.
"We've got our game style, which has been successful in the last eight games against some quality opposition, so it's up to us to play to our strengths," Carey said.
"Every team in the World Cup has got theirs strengths. England's got theirs, we've got ours, Afghanistan has got theirs.
"If we worry too much about the opposition's game style that's when we get distracted from what we're really good at."
England hammered Australia 4-1 at home 12 months ago.
While Australia can appear pedestrian in comparison, life in the fast lane for England comes with the risk of suffering afatal crash in a knockout match.
Carey said the Aussies had done "so much good work away from the cricket field that a lot of people don't see" in the past 12 months.
"It was great to get that success in India and take some momentum into the World Cup, but a World Cup is even higher pressure, tournament-based cricket … it starts again now," Carey said.
"I'm really excited for this tournament-style competition - every game is a Grand Final."
PROUD TO BE HERE
The Australians will train in London today (Sunday) and then travel to Southampton, where they play warm-up games against West Indies, England and Sri Lanka.
Their first World Cup game is against spin-heavy Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol.
Carey said he could pick Rashid Khan "most of the time" after keeping to the mystery spinner for Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League and facing him in the nets.
Carey, 27, has been backed in as the only gloveman in the 15-man squad just eight years after he was delisted by inaugural Greater Western Sydney coach Kevin Sheedy.
Carey captained the Giants in the TAC Cup in 2010 and remains close friends with star Essendon recruit Dylan Shiel.
"I'm really proud of the work I've done to get here," Carey, who returned to South Australia in 2012 and eventually switchedto cricket, said.
"I'll sit back and watch some footy while I'm away but winning games of cricket for Australia is the main focus."