Australia are set to start the challenging part of their limited-overs tour of India, with the first One-Day International (ODI) to be played at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune today.
Led by George Bailey, the touring side includes several youngsters who have yet to experience Indian conditions at the highest level. The pace battery of Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner and Clint McKay would have to be at their very best if they are to thwart the Indian batting line-up, renowned for posting huge scores in conditions that favour them.
The Aussies are without regular captain Michael Clarke, who suffered a recurrence of the back injury that has plagued him for many years now after the demanding away Ashes tour.
In Clarke’s absence, Bailey would try his best to outwit the hosts who have been a potent force at home conditions after their resounding win in the ICC World Cup at home in 2011.
"I think it will be silly to go hoping for a 6-1 result,” said Bailey, according to The Times Of India. “It's a long way away and realistically I will be very surprised if that happens. It's one match at a time focus for us."
Australia and India are also vying for the top-spot in the ICC ODI rankings.
"India are very good,” said Bailey. “They deserve to be number one in the world. They were the best team in the Champions Trophy. They are a very well balanced side and we have to combat that. We are well placed to do that.”
The India team, led by MS Dhoni, would be playing the series under the shadow of the retirement of arguably the greatest cricketer of all-time, Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar, who announced his retirement from international cricket this week, has been a feature of many memorable Indian wins and his legacy would stay with the men in blue for many years yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2013.
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