SHIKHAR DHAWAN TO MISS FIRST THREE ONEDAYERS AGAINST AUSTRALIA
Scales are tilted towards India, but this Australian team has undergone significant transformation since India last won at home
INDIA VS AUSTRALIA 2 days to go
CHENNAI: The boredom and fatigue that had set in while watching Sri Lanka’s abject surrender to India across three formats should wear away with the first ODI series India play at home against Australia since 2013. Yes, it has been that long.
Thanks to a choc-a-bloc calendar that saw India play two ICC events before being consumed by a long Test season at home meant they haven’t played too many blockbuster ODIs at home barring a South Africa series.
Level on rating points and ranked second and third respectively by the ICC in ODIs, Australia and India should be itching to get ahead of each other.
That alone should make for a very competitive series besides the obvious bragging rights on offer.
Both teams however have undergone significant transformation since India won the last home ODI series against Australia 3-2.
MS Dhoni was the undisputed captain then and Suresh Raina his deputy. Yuvraj Singh was still thriving while R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were Dhoni’s go-to men. Australia too have undergone a massive makeover. Phil Hughes, who had played the last ODI in Bangalore, is sadly no more.
George Bailey, then captain, hasn’t been in the frame for some time now. Steve Smith, who didn’t even make the squad in that series, is the unquestioned leader now.
But the biggest difference between then and now is how despite looking weak on paper, Australia, maybe, are far from it. All thanks to the Indian Premier League. Out of the 14 named in the Australia squad for the ODI series against India, only leftarm spinner Ashton Agar and allrounder Hilton Cartwright haven’t played the IPL.
Others have experience varying from 114 matches (David Warner) to only three for Matthew Wade who turned out for Delhi Daredevils in 2011.
Apart from knowing the ground facilities to even what to order from the nearest restaurant, the IPL experience has allowed the players not to be overawed by the hot and humid welcome in Chennai.
Unlike many previous touring Australian teams, this one straightaway got down to work.
THOUGH TO CALL
India, being masters of the game at their backyard, may not be too alarmed by this particular selection of players.
Man to man, the scales still perhaps tilt slightly in their favour but Australia possess superb competitors in every department (see box).
This team may look young with a not-so-threatening bowling line-up but it sure packs plenty of experience.
Australia players take part in a training session ahead of the ODI series which begins in Chennai from Sunday. Australia will play five ODIs and three T20Is.