Former captain Ian Chappell feels the Indian team will be quite a handful for world champions Australia in the upcoming ODIs but the hosts will still be the favourites to win the five-game series as the visitors are short of one specialist batsman.
Chappell, in his column for ‘The Daily Telegraph’, said India are short of a specialist batsman in the touring squad and their fast bowlers are likely to be tested quite a bit by the Australian batsmen on the bouncy conditions here.
“Following a lacklustre Test season, the public is thirsty for some meaningful contests. What looms is a battle between the current (Australia) and previous (India) ODI World Cup holders. MS Dhoni will provide a true test for Australia and Steve Smith,” Chappell wrote.
“India has the big names and the talent to push Australia but I don’t see them beating the home side, as both teams ramp up their quest for another world title (World T20 in March-April in India),” he said.
“Australia will have a psychological advantage in the first two contests,” he added.
Chappell, however, questioned the non-inclusion of fast bowler James Pattinson in the Australian squad for the first two ODIs to be played at the WACA in Perth and the Gabba in Brisbane on January 12 and January 15 respectively.
“If Australia is looking to inflict serious psychological damage on India prior to World T20, then why not unleash aggressive Pattinson on the bouncy WACA and Gabba? Especially as India’s batting line-up, while talented, is one specialist short,” said 72-year-old Chappell who played for Australia in 75 Tests and 16 ODIs between 1964 and 1980.
“Australia, on the other hand, has a deep line-up. Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade and James Faulkner can all either capitalise on a fast start from dashing David Warner and Aaron Finch, or resurrect an innings that has gone awry at the top,” he said.
Chappell said India are also handicapped by the lack of all-rounders and they may struggle if their batting top-four do not deliver.