MUMBAI, Sept 16: Former India allrounder Suresh Raina has said that the mighty Aussies will start off as favourites when they take on India in a three-match ODI series that will serve as a dress rehearsal ahead of the World Cup. The two teams will also begin their World Cup campaign against each other on October 8. Raina believes that Australia’s batting flexibility and their familiarity with the Indian conditions provide them with an ‘upper hand’.
The first match of the series is on September 22 in Mohali, five days after the Asia Cup final. Australia are currently playing South Africa in an ODI series.
“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.
Indore and Rajkot will host the second and third games respectively.
Raina, who was a part of the victorious 2011 ODI World Cup side, said that a 3-0 victory or a 0-3 defeat will not matter a lot but the series will provide a perfect chance to the teams to get their combinations sorted and find their key players ahead of the World Cup.
The former allrounder also named his key players for the India vs Australia series. He said that Indian skipper Rohit Sharma will score the most runs during the series.
Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood will be the best Australian bowler. For India, it will be either pacer Mohammed Shami or spinner Kuldeep Yadav, Raina said.
Allrounder Shardul Thakur will be the ‘X-factor’, Raina said, hoping that he will be able to bowl the knuckle ball like Zaheer Khan that proved crucial in India’s 2011 World Cup win. (PTI)