The much awaited battle between the top two sides in the limited form of the game is all set to begin tomorrow when the Indians take on the Aussies for a 7 match series in Vadodara. The lead up to the series for the teams has been a stark contrast. Australia has been in brilliant form thrashing England 6-1 in a bilateral series and successfully defending the Champions Trophy. India though on the other hand is coming into the series after a disappointing exit from the Champions Trophy.
The BCCI took some very harsh decisions aftermath of the exit by sacking the fielding and the bowling coach. Dhoni would have realized how thankless captaincy could be as in the matter of weeks he turned from hero to zero. The Indian team though would be buoyed by the return of Yuvraj and Sehwag at the top of the order. So the batting for the home team sports a balanced look as opposed to the bowling which totally relies of how Bajji would perform.
Ishant Sharma has been given a lifeline as he has been included in the squad in spite of some mediocre performances. No such luck for Yusuf Pathan though as he has been dropped from the squad after some indifferent performances in the Compaq cup and CT. So Ishant might play the first game with Nehra and Praveen (or Tyagi) being the others partnering him in Vadodara.
Australia though has no such worries as they have a fit and firing Brett Lee along with one of the fastest bowlers in the world Dirk Nannes. The only aspect of the Aussie bowling which might be exposed is their spin department. Even though Nathan Hauritz has been doing a good job for them in the past few months, he might be targeted by the Indian batsmen.
Batting though for the Aussies seems in good shape with Watson and Paine at the top with Ponting and the rest to follow. Ricky Ponting himself has been in brilliant form for the Aussies. On the flat batting tracks in India the Aussies will not be too worried about their batsmen struggling against the spinners.
Even though the Indian top order seems very strong they will be still wary of the lack of competitive matches for Yuvraj and Sehwag. Raina and Dhoni have not been in good touch. Ghambir has been scratchy in his last couple of innings in the CLT20. So there are concerns a plenty for the Indian think tank.
The teams are ranked 1 and 2 in the ICC ODI rankings and there is plenty to play for in that aspect. If India wins the series by a considerable margin then they might just pip the Aussies for the top spot. So all in all this will be an interesting series and it will be interesting to see the team combinations for the first game by both the parties.
This is an important series for the Indian captain as he would have found out recently that the media and the fans in the subcontinent have a pretty short term memory. I am sure that this will be a close series and I hope that India ends up on the right side of the results. I am going for a 4-3 win to India. Go India!!