The Australian team’s success so far in the ongoing seven-match ODI series has not come as a surprise to followers of the game. The Aussies, without the services of regular skipper Michael Clarke, have done wonderfully well to go 2-1 up in the series.
Led by George Bailey, the visiting side has played some outstanding cricket though it started with a defeat in the lone Twenty20 International.
There are many factors that have made this team excel in Indian conditions. The planning has been meticulous, the execution nearly flawless and most importantly the dressing room atmosphere is very good. The credit for the rise should go to the captain and its coach Steve Rixon.
More than the captain, the coach would have played a big role with his valuable inputs on the strengths and weaknesses of some of the Indian players and formulating the right strategy for each game.
Both Rixon and Bailey have been associated with Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League. Their knowledge of the CSK players in the Indian team, including captain M.S. Dhoni, has come in handy for the Australians in the current series. Having worked closely with Dhoni, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina, Rixon would have a strategy in place for each of these players.
The Australian players Shane Watson and James Faulkner (Rajasthan Royals), Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Coulter-Nile (Mumbai Indians) also must have gained immensely with their experience in the IPL and Champions League.
With four matches remaining in the series, Australia has already put India under pressure. With their all-round strength, the Aussie side will hope to turn the tables on the Indians.
Unless the playing conditions, especially the pitch, turn in favour of the Indians, it appears that the Aussies have a distinct edge.
It is difficult to imagine this Indian team quickly learning to negotiate the short-pitched balls. As former India captain Sourav Ganguly said at the beginning of the series, India’s strength was spin bowling and any deviation from this would give the visitors the advantage.