Australia bank on IPL experience

(Cricinfo) Australia arrived in India hoping for a hat-trick of ODI series wins here but are aware that they have arrived with perhaps the least experienced side of the past two decades. At their first press conference, though, the new captain-coach combination of George Baileyand Steve Rixon stressed on the one advantage previous touring sides lacked: a familiarity with Indian conditions and players, thanks to the T20 phenomenon that is the IPL and Champions League.

The 14-member squad has a combined experience of 627 ODI caps going into the series, less than the combined caps of India’s three most experienced cricketers in the squad: MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina. However, Australia did have five representatives in Sunday’s Champions League final – Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Coulter-Nile – as opposed to just two from India’s squad.

While the IPL, and its extension, the Champions League, has leveled the playing field somewhat, Bailey sought to downplay the importance of any perceived advantage. Bailey, who along with coach Steve Rixon has been a part of the Chennai Super Kings set-up, were both present at the team’s first media interaction. Both Bailey and Rixon have worked closely with the likes of Dhoni, Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

“One of the great things about IPL over the years is we have played in a lot of grounds against the best players,” The Australian captain said. “All of us have played with and against a lot of the Indian players and vice-versa. We know a lot of strengths and weaknesses, a lot about personalities.[There are] some advantages for both the teams, so [there are] some areas to try and exploit.”

‘Both teams know each other well’ – Bailey

Having been a part of the Pune Warriors set-up, Callum Ferguson, who has come in for injured Michael Clarke, and Aaron Finch would know more than a thing or two about Yuvraj’s game. So will all-rounder Moises Henriques’ close proximity with Virat Kohli, Jaydev Unadkat and Vinay Kumar, after being a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore set-up last season.

“Having been involved in Champions League Twenty20, we have seen the likes of Suresh Raina [and] the way he is playing,” Rixon said. “We have seen the likes of Dhoni [and] the way he is playing, and also Ashwin. We still have to be able to combat that. We have got plenty of hard work to do.

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