India’s top two spinners are not part of the squad for the ODI series against Australia but captain of the Australiam team Steve Smith is still not taking any chances against the Indian spinners especially Kuldeep Yadav. Smith said that he is one of the more difficult bowlers to pick and his batsmen needed more effort to prepare for him.
For that reason, Australia had KK Jiyas, a left-arm chinaman spinner from Kerela, bowl at nets on Saturday, a day before the start of the five-match ODI series between India and Australia. The first game will be played in Chennai on Sunday.
“He is a guy Sri (team consultant Sridharan Sriram) has organised to come down and bowl. They have got Kuldeep Yadav in their squad and he is likely to play. There is a chance to train against someone like that. There aren’t too many in the world,” Smith said.
Jiyas has been part of the Indian Premier League and was team-mate of Travis Head, Australian middle-order batsman, at Delhi Daredevils.
“A few of the guys played against him in the IPL and he is a good young talent and can be difficult to pick at times. He is someone who you have to watch a little bit closely. Hopefully we can put him under pressure early in his spell and try and take him for as many as we can,” he said.
Last time Australia and India played ODI series in India, it turned out to be a run feast but this time, Smith said that he will have a look at the pitches before summing up things for every ground. Smith is a key player for Australia has he has 1,740 runs at an average of 51.18 with five hundreds and 10 fifties as captain.
“We saw that the last time we came here in 2013 it was a run-fest where 350 was around par. It’s difficult to say. Every ground is going to be different. I think it’s about summing things up quickly at every ground. I couldn’t tell you if it is going to be a run fest. It depends on the pitches,” he said.
“I think it’s important for someone in the top four to go on and make a big score. I think we have the guys to do that. It’s important in any country. We saw that the last time we came here in 2013 it was a run-fest where 350 was around par.”
On his team selection, Smith said that he will assess the conditions before deciding nut his team has all-rounders on whom they can bank.
“We have got a spinning all-rounder, we’ve got all-rounders that take pace off the ball and things like that. We have got a few different options but we will go in with what we think is best for the conditions.
“We’re not going to name our team. We’re going to have a look again and see what we think is the best (XI). There is a bit of weather around, might be a bit of rain around tomorrow (Sunday) as well. Gives us a chance to have a look at that and then we will be able to name our XI for tomorrow (Sunday),” he said.
Talking about their opponent, Smith said that despite missing opener Shikhar Dhawan, India still have a strong batting line-up with some strong guys.
“Yeah, I think Shikhar has obviously been playing well for India for the last year or so at the top of the order. Obviously it is tough for them. Hope everything is okay with him. He has gone back home to Australia. I think they still have got a very strong batting line-up whether KL Rahul opens or Ajinkya Rahane does. I am not sure but we are ready for both. They have a strong top-six or seven,” Smith said.
Australia will be without Aaron Finch in this series but Smith says it doesn’t change anything. Head will bat at number four according to Smith.
“Nothing really changes. I’ll tell you Travis will probably bat at four. I won’t give too much away other than that. There’s a good chance he’ll be filling the No. 4 spot,” the Aussie skipper said.
He also talked about the preparations for 2019 World Cup in England and said that they are trying to find the right group of guys.
“We have about 30 ODI games before the World Cup. For us it is about trying to find the right group of players to fill all slots. Conditions are obviously slightly different to what they will be in England. But I think it is a good opportunity to put their names up there and hopefully win some games for Australia.”
Virat Kohli has scored 30 ODI centuries so far in his career but Smith says that India play more matches than them adding that he is not worried about any personal achievements.
“I’m not sure. I think India play a lot more ODI cricket than we do. I’m not sure how many games Virat has played. He is a very good player.
“I am not worried about personal accolades or anything like that. I am here to try and win a series. The Indian team has a very good top seven and all guys are capable of scoring big runs. Our bowlers have to be on the top of their game to keep them quiet this series.”