After struggling against Bangladesh spinners in the two-match Test series, Australia will be up against familiar wickets in India where they are scheduled to play a five-match ODI series, beginning in Chennai on September 17. Former Australia captain Michael Clarke feels the flat wickets being used in ODIs would even out some of Australia’s shortcomings. “Conditions in Test matches and ODIs are a lot different. You get flat pitches to bat on in ODIs and T20s. 95 per cent of the pitches around the world are similar in ODIs. You don’t have to worry about dealing with spinners on Day 3, 4 and 5,” Clarke told Times of India.
With R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja rested for the series and not including the 15-man squad, Clarke said that the visitors will be more than happy to sponsor the two all-rounders to play for them. “We will be happily sponsoring Ashwin and Jadeja to play for us if India don’t need them for the first three games. That’s the advantage India have. I think Kuldeep Yadav is a superstar and he will be a big part of the team going forward,” Clarke stated.
While India will be banking on Axar Patel, Kuldeep, Yuzvendra Chahal in their spin department, Australia will be dependent on Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar. Clarke, whose first tour of India was in 2003, feels Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are the two big misses from Australia’s side.
Zampa, who was a part of Rising Pune Supergiant team in the 2017 edition of the Indian Premier League, has represented Australia in 24 ODIs whereas Agar has just played two matches since making his ODI debut against England in 2015.
Players like Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, who have been regular participants in the IPL, will be aware of the pitch conditions in India and will be expected to play key roles. “People like Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner will need to have a good series. The top four needs to fire,” Clarke added.
Clarke, who was a part of Australia’s team which won the tri-series final against India in 2003, feels that the current Australian batsmen shouldn’t have much problem against India’s spin trio. “It is a combination of quality of spinners and the pitches. Those days you faced very high quality spinners in Harbhajan and Anil Kumble. In Test cricket, it became tougher. Ashwin and Jadeja too have done that in Tests. These days and on these kinds of pitches, Australian batsmen shouldn’t have much of a problem. If Australia can win the first game, they will be in with a real shot,” Clarke concluded.