India will begin the ODI series against Australia with the first ODI to be played at Sydney Cricket Ground. The visitors were able to clinch the four-match Test series by 2-1 and would look to continue the impetus.
Meanwhile, there are only 13 ODIs before the World Cup for the Indian team. Thus, the Virat Kohli men will like to make the most of their remaining matches and hit the ground running to prepare themselves for the mega event of World Cup 2019.
India was able to tick the right boxes in the Test series and they would high on confidence. The visitors are currently placed at the second place in the ICC ODI rankings whereas the depleted Australian side is at the sixth place.
Subsequently, Sportzwiki spoke to former Indian wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya in a telephonic conversation to get his insights on the upcoming three-match series. Vijay Dahiya played two Test matches and 19 One Day Internationals for the Indian team.
GC: Who would be favourites for the upcoming three-match series between India and Australia?
VD: I think India will be favourites. It is a game of confidence and India’s confidence is sky high right now after winning the Test series. If you look at the current Australian team, it is in the transition phase. In fact, the former Australian players also believe the same. Hence, the Indian team as per the condition is going to be red-hot favourites for the upcoming series.
GC: How does a recent controversy of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul impact the morale of the team?
VD: I think it impacts a team which is low on experience. However, this Indian team has all the experience under their belt. So I don’t think so that it is going to impact the Indian team. In fact, these two players are not even regular players in the team. Thus, I think the absence of these two players is not going to hurt India. Furthermore, I think the BCCI has taken the right step to suspend both of them till the enquiry, for the goodwill of the side. It is a good way for BCCI to send out a signal that you are not only cricketers but also you are role models in the country. Crores of people try to take the inspiration from the players, thus it is one’s duty to be smart in one’s use of language.
GC: Who could be the match-winners for both the sides?
VD: If we talk about one player who can be the match-winner, it is Australia who needs it more. When you are not playing well, you are not looking at the team as a unit, you are looking at an individual who can come up with a match-winning performance. I will not look at individual brilliance in this series from Australia as they don’t have the firepower they used to have. In fact, they will be looking for India’s bad day at work rather than their good day. If we take a look at the Indian team, they are a confident unit in the white ball version, wherever they play. So, I think we are a potent unit.
GC: Playing combination for the Indian team, will India go with two spinners?
VD: Is India in a state to experiment? Kuldeep Yadav has done really well in the recent past and he would definitely be in the team. I think this is how Virat Kohli thinks and he would have taken down the meter for the World Cup 2019. Even if India wants to experiment with their playing combination, they can afford to do it as they are in that state. The further decision will depend on the kind of pitch which will be on offer in Sydney.
GC: MS Dhoni is not in the best of forms in the recent past. Do you think his dry patch is a cause of concern for the Indian team before the World Cup?
Dhoni is going to hold the key.
VD: If we talk about a player like MS Dhoni or any other player who has played for such a long time, such a player doesn’t only carries his skills to the ground but also they come with a complete package. Even India’s deputy Rohit Sharma also acknowledge the impact of MS Dhoni in the recent press conference. MS Dhoni has shown in the last 15 years that he doesn’t allow us to witness what is going behind the scenes. Obviously, there must be the pressure to score runs regularly. However, even if MS Dhoni doesn’t score runs, he is still going to be part of the World Cup for India.