Michael Jones: ‘If David Warner opens the bowling it’d be pretty funny’

Michael Jones has given an indication of Scotland’s relaxed state of mind as they prepare for their crucial Group B showdown in Antigua on Sunday, as he welcomed Josh Hazlewood’s suggestion that Australia might go easy on his team in a bid to engineer an early elimination for their arch-rivals England.

Speaking after Australia’s emphatic victory over Namibia on Tuesday – a result that secured their progression to the Super Eights – Hazlewood had indicated that his team might be willing to “drag it out” if they got into a winning position against Scotland, in order to preserve their opponents’ net run-rate – albeit such a tactic could run the risk of a suspension for their captain, Mitchell Marsh, if Australia were deemed to have contravened Article 2.11 of the ICC’s code of conduct.

Matthew Mott, England’s coach, subsequently dismissed Hazlewood’s suggestion as an example of his “very good sense of humour”, and Jones also saw the funny side of the remarks, as he joked he’d like to see David Warner open the bowling at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday.

“I was watching it live actually, laughing to myself,” Jones told the Press Association, adding that he had also enjoyed the view of Tim Paine, Australia’s former Test captain, who told ESPNcricinfo’s Around The Wicket show that Australia’s players should “go on holiday … and England can pack their bags”.

“I watched that interview and I watched Tim Paine when he was saying they should field half a side. I’m not particularly close to them, I don’t know any of the Australian players, but it would be good if we could have a little word and sort something out.

“The rivalry between England and Australia is massive. If they want to play that way then happy days. We won’t be complaining. If they want to let David Warner open the bowling or something like that it would be pretty funny.”

More realistically, however, Jones is braced for the full Australia experience when the two teams meet on Sunday, and after two impressive victories over Oman and Namibia, to go alongside a spirited display in the washout against England, he admitted he and his team-mates were relishing the prospect of testing themselves against one of the best sides in the tournament.

“At the end of the day our team wants the best result we can get, but on a personal level you want to challenge yourself against the best,” he said.

“To have the opportunity to bat against Jofra Archer and Mark Wood, then Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, that’s the best in the world. Those are the opportunities we crave as Scotland teams. You want to challenge yourself and see how far you go against those guys.

“The Australians are renowned for being extremely diligent and extremely professional. I’m absolutely certain they will come out all guns blazing like they do for every game at every tournament.

“I almost hope they do go full strength on Saturday and we can show the cricket world we’re up to the challenge. I’m absolutely certain they will come out all guns blazing like they do for every game at every tournament.”

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