Steve Smith is ready for a tough series with New Zealand.
Steve Smith is ready for a tough series with New Zealand. Contributed

Skipper Smith ready for anything series can throw at him

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum is widely seen as one of the most creative and attacking leaders in world cricket.

He added weight to that argument when he used four slips fielders in a World Cup match against England earlier this year.

His opposite number Steve Smith will lead his country for his first full Test series when Australia takes on the Black Caps in the first Test starting at the Gabba today.

Despite his lack of experience in the role, and the loss of leaders including Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin, Smith said he had plenty of confidence in the leadership qualities he will bring to the team - and also promised to set aggressive fields when the opportunity arose.

"With me it's about making sure that I'm adaptable to each of the conditions," Smith said.

"In Australia you can be a bit more attacking than for instance in India with our quicks.

"If the time calls for it, I'll certainly set those really attacking fields for our bowlers. We'll continue to play the hard aggressive brand that we play so well."

McCullum, meanwhile, wasn't about to stoke the fire sparked by Aussie vice-captain David Warner when he labelled the Black Caps "Mr Nice Guys".

Aussie paceman Mitchell Johnson also weighed into the debate, tweeting: "I find it strange when someone keeps telling the world how nice they are! You wouldn't need to say anything if it's true?!"

Those barbs were directed at McCullum, who used a column to label Smith "immature" after he didn't withdraw an appeal for a controversial Ben Stokes dismissal against England in September.

McCullum, meanwhile, who has encouraged a no-sledging policy among his team, said he had no hard feelings towards Smith, Warner or Johnson.

"David is someone I'd pay to watch play. I've got a whole lot of respect for David Warner, and his emergence in the game, to come through the T20 system," McCullum said.

"Same with Steve Smith, to transform himself as a player and now be one of the top-two batsmen in the world.
"Mitchell Johnson has been around a long time and has overcome a lot of setbacks, so I've only got a lot of admiration for him."

But then McCullum's attacking nature kicked in

"It doesn't mean we won't be trying to score runs against him though," he added. Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and

Mitchell Starc will form a three-pronged pace attack at the Gabba, with Peter Siddle named 12th man. New Zealand opted for seamer Doug Bracewell ahead of Matt Henry to partner fast men Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

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