India are much better balanced in T20 cricket, says Dean Jones
'It doesn't matter whether they win or lose ODIs in Australia. What matters is playing T20s against Australia'
India might have been thoroughly outplayed in the ODI series in Australia, but former Australia batsman Dean Jones said the visitors will do much better in the three T20 Internationals as they have a balanced side, which was missing in the One-dayers.
"Look, I think India are much better balanced in T20 cricket; they have good top three batsmen, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the finisher in the middle, Yuvraj (Singh) is coming too and then you have the spinners. It is a balanced side, just not for ODIs in Australia," said Jones.
Jones is convinced that the Indian team has been solely concentrating on the Twenty20 series with the World T20 just eight weeks away.
"The bottom line is what India, and MS Dhoni, want out of this tour. I am sure they wanted to win the ODI series but they were also giving a lot of youngsters chances in the ODIs. I think India will be more worried about winning the T20 series. That's the priority," Jones said.
"It doesn't matter whether they win or lose ODIs in Australia. What matters is playing T20s against Australia, who have a half decent team and that too without Mitchell Starc but are still doing well. The T20s here are more important than the ODIs," he added.
Stating that India would be looking to build-up their options before they settled on a final squad, Jones said: "You want to pick your team for the World T20 now and give the players some matches to get ready for that tournament.
"Form is everything in T20 cricket. For example, if Yuvraj can get some runs here, it will get his confidence going. You pitch it up to him then and he will whack it. That's what the T20 game is about -- confidence."
After this series, starting here on January 26, India will play two more Twenty20 series -- first against Sri Lanka at home and then the Asia Cup in Bangladesh -- that will give them enough opportunities to evaluate their options.
The veterans such as Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra have been recalled to the T20 fold and Jones feels
"I think they are absolutely right in that selection," said Jones.
Talking about Australian team's chances in the World T20, Jones said, "They will definitely take two spinners, but I am not sure if Nathan Lyon will be one of them. They will need some good death bowlers, as Starc will probably be missing the tournament. Injuries are really hurting Australia's bowlers, so that is troublesome.
"But we have five-six players from the World Cup winning team playing this series. And they can all whack it, it will be a good team and I will be disappointed if they don't make the semi-finals even without Starc. We haven't won a T20 World Cup and we are due. If we win one, Australia can thank the Indian Premier League because that's where they have learnt how to play it."
Coming back to India's 1-4 loss in the just-concluded ODI series, Jones said the visiting team's bowling left a lot to be desired.
"The batsmen's form in the ODI series is really heartening for India, but again who is your most important player in that format? The death bowler! How many times has Lasith Malinga won games for Sri Lanka?," asked Jones.
"Most of the times when you score 300 runs in Australia, you should win the match. So why hasn't India won anything? This is because Australia have batted their backsides off and broken records that have stood for 40 years. Australia have had much better match awareness than India.
"Indian batsmen should have put their foot down and they did not do that before Canberra, and by then the series was lost."
The former cricketer also felt that India got their bowling combination wrong.
"India have got their batting right. But look, 70 per cent of ODI cricket is now about defense. India's fielding got worse as the series went on, and they got their bowling combination wrong. You cannot have two spinners here in Australia, you just cannot.
"In India, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin bowl very well because the ball bursts off the pitch and goes everywhere. They are unplayable. But it doesn't happen here. You just cannot play two spinners here and get away with it," he signed off.