They have some excellent wins behind them while coming into the ODI series against India but Australian captain Ricky Ponting is not willing to underestimate the hosts and expects the seven-match contest to be an entertaining and tough affair.

“India is a very good and strong one-day team and were not underestimating them. We are the number one and two teams in the world and all points to an entertaining and good contest over the next few weeks,” Ponting said.

“We have always enjoyed playing in India and against India. Our rivalry over the last few years has been growing and it’s good for the world game,” he said.

Pointing out Australia’s splendid run in the 50-over game over the last few months, that included a 6-1 thrashing of hosts England and a successful defence of their ICC Champions Trophy crown, Ponting was optimistic of carrying forward good form in India as well.

“We have played some excellent one-day cricket over the last few months beginning from the England tour and in the Champions Trophy. We need to keep improving and need to be at our best right through the series,” he said.

The 34-year-old Australian captain, who has quit T20 internationals, felt that a lot of responsibility lies on his shoulders as the team’s most experienced batsman.

“I have a good record in one-day cricket in India as compared to Tests. I have played some of my best one-day cricket over the last few months. A lot of responsibility is on my shoulders as the number three batsman in the team. It’s really a big challenge to play against India,” he said.

Ponting said that the retirement of stalwarts like Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, who were part of the squad that thrashed India 4-2 in the last series in this country, has given a good chance for some new players to step up the ladder.

“We have got a lot of young players, young as far as experience goes, who are finding their feet in international cricket. We have played some good one-day cricket over the last few months and they have grown in confidence from that.

This series offers them different set of challenges,” he said.

Ponting did not read too much into the fact that the Indian team would be without a specialised bowling and fielding coach following the unceremonious sacking of Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh by the BCCI.

“A lot of coaching can be done among the players themselves. The younger players can learn a lot from the experienced guys,” he retorted.

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