Australia’s batting flexibility and their familiarity with Indian conditions will give them the “upper hand” in their three-match dress rehearsal series ahead of the World Cup, feels former India batter Suresh Raina. India, who are scheduled to take on hosts Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final on Sunday, will play in a three-match ODI series against Australia, before they begin their World Cup campaign facing each other in Chennai on October 8.
“They (Australia) have a lot of left-right combinations in the batting order. The Indore ground is very small, and Rajkot has a flat track. Also, the Australian side has played a lot in Mohali and hence I believe they will have an upper hand,” Raina told JioCinema.
The series will begin with the Mohali one-dayer on September 22, followed by their matches in Indore (September 24) and Rajkot (September 27).
“In these small grounds, even scores of 340-350 will be chaseable and the Indian team will need to play a very strong bowling lineup to defend any sort of total in the World Cup.” The 2011 World Cup winner feels a 3-0 win or a 0-3 loss will not matter much but the series will give a perfect opportunity to get their combination right and find the key players.
“More than the result, whether it is a win by 3-0 or losing 3-0, I think what is more important is for the team to go through as many tests as possible because the only thing that matters is the World Cup,” Raina said.
“Also, what matters is which players you believe in because, during the World Cup, situations will arise where you’ll have to plan accordingly,” he added.
Raina further named his key players for the series.
“Rohit Sharma will score the most runs during the series. In terms of wickets, Josh Hazlewood will be the pick of the bowlers from Australia. For India, it will be either Mohammed Shami or Kuldeep Yadav,” Raina said.
‘Shardul, the X-factor’
Shardul Thakur will be the “X-factor”, feels Raina who hopes the pace-bowling allrounder is able to bowl the knuckle ball like Zaheer Khan executed during their triumphant campaign in 2011.
“Shardul needs to bowl now like Zaheer Khan did in the 2011 World Cup with his knuckleball or how Yuvraj Singh came out to win Player of the Tournament and how Dhoni went and batted in the Final. For me, Shardul Thakur will be the X-factor.” “Every player has a different character. I want if a tough situation arises and the captain has to choose, I want all 11 players to raise their hand and say, ‘Let me do the job for the country,” he signed off.
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