After losing the T20I series 0-2 against Australia, Team India is now locking horns with the visitors in the five-match ODI series with the first being played in Hyderabad on Saturday. The hosts will also be looking to return to their winning ways that have been disrupted by two back-to-back T20I series loss recently. In ODIs, all eyes will be on who grabs the No.4 batting position. Although Ambati Rayudu has done decently in that position of late (he scored a 90 against NZ in his last match) but the return of KL Rahul to form in the recent T20Is makes it look the race is still on.
Talking about the same to Times of India, legendary Indian batsman, Sunil Gavaskar said, “He (Rayudu) will have a competition from KL Rahul, who has shown a pleasing return to form in the just-concluded T20I series, On the familiar pitches at home, Rahul looks a completely different batsman as he dominates the opposition bowlers almost at will.”
Rahul slammed 50 and 47 in the two matches in Visakhapatnam and Bengaluru to end up as India’s highest scorer in the series though none of his two knocks could give India a win.
Gavaskar also had a few words of praise for the Aussies as well. He said, “The Australians will be buoyed by their T20I series win, their first win in the subcontinent after a long time. Glenn Maxwell was simply superb as he smashed a century of the highest class.”
India and Australia have met 131 times in ODIs so far with the former trailing 47-74 with 10 matches remaining inconclusive.
Gavaskar is also confident that the two finalists of the upcoming ICC World Cup will be two-time champions India and hosts England and that MS Dhoni would be his captain Virat Kohli’s biggest advantage. England and India are currently ranked first and second in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) list of teams in ODIs. India has won the tournament in 1983 and 2011 while England missed it by a win on three occasions – 1979, 1987 and 1992.
Recently, during the India Today Conclave, Gavaskar said apart from already getting a taste of English conditions in their last visit that would help them prepare better for the mega event, Dhoni’s presence behind the stumps would also be the side’s biggest advantage. The upcoming WC will be the fourth for Dhoni who led India to their second WC title in 2011.
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Gavaskar said, “It certainly is an India vs England final. Virat has got a bowling attack which can take wickets in any kind of conditions. 390 is not going to happen with this Indian bowling attack. All-around, the team that has got, is the team that is being molded by MSK Prasad and his co-selectors.”