Saturday, September 23rd, 2017
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Former skipper Michael Clarke said Tuesday the Australians would likely upstage hosts India in the upcoming one-day series thanks to their stints with the Indian Premier League. The Steve Smith-led side, which lost the Test series 2-1 to India earlier this year, will play five ODIs, with the first in Chennai on Sunday. Smith captained the Pune franchise in the last edition of the cash-rich IPL, arguably the world's most popular Twenty20 tournament.

Players like David Warner, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins have had successful IPL stints and Clarke said the team should have no excuses in the shorter format. "It's not just the wicket you are batting on or the ground you are playing, it's the heat, the food you eat, the hotel your are staying at," Clarke told reporters.

"(With) these players now being involved in the IPL, India is like a second home because you spend so much time here. "Yes, it's a shame we don't have Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood available unfortunately due to injury. Those two will be missed. "But this Australian team has no excuses. They know the conditions really well... and this is a massive series for us," he said, predicting a 3-2 win for the visitors.

Clarke saw a "carrot right there" for the Australians, who will topple South Africa from top spot in the ODI table if they beat India 4-1. The cricketer turned commentator also praised Virat Kohli's fearless captaincy that has helped India dominate with their aggressive approach.

India not only regained their number one Test spot under Kohli last year but recently blanked hosts Sri Lanka 9-0 across all three formats. "I think this team has certainly got that aggression in them... they are led by an aggressive captain. Seems to me that Virat is not scared to lose and that's a great advantage," said Clarke.

Indian batting great VVS Laxman, who was also present at the event, said he did not foresee any controversy in the ODI series. In the Test series Kohli had expressed his displeasure after Smith looked up to his dressing room while deciding whether to review his lbw dismissal in the Bangalore match, and a war of words erupted between the two captains.

"They are not only two modern-day captains but two modern-day greats. In such a short span of time the impact these two players have had on international cricket is just amazing," said Laxman, who made a match-winning 281 against Australia in the epic 2001 Kolkata Test.

"And I think when you are playing international cricket it's not necessary to be friendly on field... I am sure both will go all out and be aggressive and win the matches for their team... They are both trendsetters according to me," he said. Laxman picked India to win with a 4-1 scoreline.



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