Depleted Australia confident of upsetting World champions India
Australia may be depleted because of injuries to key players, but they will draw inspiration from their good record in India over the last decade in the upcoming ODI series.
The visitors lost a rain-affected three-match series 1-0 but before that won back-to-back seven-match series 4-2 in 2007 and 2009. They also won the ICC Champions Trophy and the TVS Cup tri-series in 2003, also involving New Zealand.
Though they are missing regular captain Michael Clarke because of injury, the team is raring to do well on the India tour knowing very well that a series win will take them to number one in the ODI rankings.
“At the end of the day we obviously sit back and want to be part of that No 1 team; to look at the tournament, not just as a tournament but a chance to be No 1 in the world in one of the three formats.
“It is very important for the players, very important for coaching staff, very important for Cricket Australia,” said Steve Rixon, who is stand-in Australia coach for the series in the absence of Darren Lehmann.
'We have got plenty of hard work to do'
Ahead of the seven-match One-Day series, which begins in Pune on October 13, the Australians are practicing at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. India and Australia kick off the tour with a one-off T20 match in Rajkot on Thursday, October 10.
Bailey pointed out that the experience of some Australian players playing in the Indian Premier League and Champions League T20 will benefit the team immensely.
“One of the great things about IPL over the years is we have played in a lot of grounds against the best players. All of us have played with and against a lot of the Indian players and vice-versa. We know a lot of strengths and weaknesses, a lot about personalities, so it some advantage for both the teams, also some areas to try and exploit,” he added.
Rixon, who also serves as the fielding coach at Chennai Super Kings, says it is one thing to have knowledge about the Indian players, but something entirely different to combat them out in the middle.
“It not just about knowing the players but also knowing how to combat those players. Having been involved in the Champions League, we have seen the likes of Suresh Raina, the way he is playing; and we have seen the likes of Dhoni, the way he is playing; and also R Ashwin, to some extent.
“But we still have to be able to combat that; we have got plenty of hard work to do. The advantage, as George (Bailey) rightly said, is as we have got to see them regularly now we have got more chance of actually combating that,” he said.
'We don't rely heavily on any one or two players'
The Australians have mellowed down over the years and the verbal duels, so famously associated with them in the 1990s and 2000s, seems a thing of the past.
Bailey said mixing with the Indian players over the years in the IPL has helped build a good relation between the two sides. He also pointed out that the current team may lack big players like Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath who could win matches on their own but they are working on the entire eleven to play their part.
“We are very polite. I still think, around the world you still see certain individuals make those predictions. That was a way they challenged themselves, that was a way they got themselves fired up for the series.
"This group doesn’t need to do that; we have got enough challenges and certainly don’t probably have the superstars of Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath. We don’t rely heavily on any one or two players. If we are going to play good one-day cricket, if we win this series, we will need all 13 or 14 of us to play really well,” he said.
'It is one of our learning curves at the moment'
Rixon said the ODIs will be a challenge for T20 captain Bailey, who has a young squad playing traditionally strong opponents at home.
“It is one of our learning curves at the moment. We have got to pass that. It’s probably a nemesis, younger players to develop. In doing so, we have strong competition around us which bring the guys on very quickly.
George is relatively new to captaincy. In the some time he was captain, he has been very, very competitive with the job. He has done it with distinction in T20s, and now he gets an opportunity to do it in one-day competition. It is probably our weakness; however, it is also our strength, as youthful exuberance often can be very, very good when it comes to final approaches,” he said.
Asked how big a loss is missing the services of Clarke, Rixon replied: “Take Dhoni out; that probably answers your question!”