Australia host India at bouncy WACA
Perth, Jan 11: India will be looking to battle the odds and win as they take on Australia in their own backyard in the first of the five One-Day Intertiols (ODIs) here on Tuesday.
The limited overs series will then continue with three Twenty20 matches which will be a platform to test the waters before the World T20 in March.
Even though it is a much depleted Australian bowling unit with the likes of speedster Mitchell Starc missing and inexperienced Josh Hazlewood as the main pace spearhead, India would be making a huge mistake if they take the men in yellow lightly.
The hosts have been in rollicking form of late coming off Test series wins against New Zealand and the West Indies and they would ideally want to carry on the momentum in the ODIs.
On the other hand, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men will have it at the back of their minds that they lost every match when they were here in 2014-15. They lost the Test series 0-2 and did not win any game in the triangular series that followed.
The visitors have been in red-hot form too in the Tests coming off series wins against Sri Lanka and South Africa. While the team for the longest format of the game looks settled with Virat Kohli leading the charge, the ODI team has struggled.
They lost the T20I and ODI series against South Africa at home and prior to that they had lost to minnows Bangladesh away.
But Dhoni would want a turround in fortunes in 2016, starting with a win against Australia.
In their quest for it, India have decided to fly in with a squad which has experience and youth combined.
The new faces that have come in are the likes of batsman Gurkeerat Singh, left-arm pacer Barinder Sran and fast bowler Rishi Dhawan. One might also get to see a bit of Manish Pandey who has been hugely successful in the domestic tourments but is yet to make a mark in the intertiol circuit.
However, the biggest setback for India will be that one of their primary new ball weapons Mohammed Shami has been ruled out of the tour with an injury. He has been replaced by right-arm seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Australia too have packed in pacers in their squad and with the bouncy wicket at the WACA here, Joel Paris and Scott Boland might be handed their debut.
It will be interesting to see how the Indian batsmen cope with the steep bounce here especially with Paris generating it at will because of his height. Then again, at the practice sessions that is precisely what the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were doing, clobbering and blocking short and quick deliveries.
While India convincingly clinched the two warm-up games and the bowling looked good but hurling it at the right length and line against the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith will be a tough challenge.
Sran was impressive and he just might get his debut alongside Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. The left-arm seamer is quick and has a deceptive short ball, a weapon needed to trouble the rival batsmen.
India also need to address issues relating to the batting order and see what combition works the best for them.
Overall both teams have all the weapons needed and it will be an engaging contest when they lock horns from Tuesday onwards. IANS