Before the start of the series against Australia, Irfan Pathan – the out of favour Indian all-rounder, has predicted that the Indian cricket team will win the ODI series by a margin of 3-2. Pathan said that the series would be a competitive one, but India will emerge out as the winner in the end,
“This Aussie team is not as strong as the past ones but they will always be competitive. When I started, they had Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting who were all match winners. Despite this Australian side being weak, the series will be different from that in Sri Lanka. There will be some atmosphere around it but India is the better side. Australia will play hard. It will be a good competitive series but India will win 3-2,” he told ESPNcricinfo.
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One of the reasons for him rating India as the favourite for the series could be the absence of star bowlers like Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Both are the leading bowlers for Australia but will miss the series. While Starc was already in not contention for the series, Hazlewood was injured during Bangladesh Test series and was replaced by Kane Richardson.
“Starc is a top bowler. He bowls with aggression. His pitched up delivery is still difficult to handle in international cricket. He can reverse swing as well and all of this will be missed by them,” Pathan added.
Surely, the absence of Starc is a big loss for Australia, but they have likes of Pat Cummins and Nathan Coulter Nile, who have IPL experience under their belt. Someone like James Faulkner is also of use with the ball.
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The first ODI of the series will be played in Chennai on September 17. Both the teams will then fly to Kolkata for the second game. Indore, Bengaluru and Nagpur will host the next three ODIs. A three matches T20I series will follow. Ranchi, Guwahati and Hyderabad will host the three T20I games respectively.
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