Chennai: Steve Smith was embroiled in a sting of controversies including the DRS ‘brain fade’ when he last led Australia in India. The Australian’s misadventure of seeking the help of his teammates in the dressing room for a DRS call during the second Test boomeranged spectacularly.
Smith, who will once again lead the Aussies in the ODI series starting here at Chepauk on September 17, downplayed the controversies saying he expected the tour to be played in a good and competitive spirit. “Playing against India in India is always hard. We are excited about the challenge. Our last ODI tour to Indian in 2013 was a run fest on flat wickets. The wickets could the same this time around too,” he told a press conference here on Sunday.
In the recent past both the captain and the vice-captain, David Warner, have excelled against spin but their compatriots are yet to master the art of playing slower bowlers in the sub-continent. But Smith feels his team have improved over the last couple of years. “I think the ODI group has played spin pretty well for a little while. Obviously we are still learning in the Test format. I’m not sure if the ODI wickets will present quite as much spin as some of the Test wickets here. We have to wait and adapt to the conditions accordingly,” said the 28-year-old.
Smith hopes to keep his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli who has been in outstanding form silent. “He is a very good player and has a phenomenal ODI record. He is obviously going to be dangerous throughout this series. I hope we can keep him quiet as much possible and it will help us get some success on this tour,” said Smith
When asked if the omission of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja made their job any easier in India, Smith said, “India have a very good one-day side. Looking at the team they have announced it looks like another strong one. One-day cricket is a completely different format compared to Test cricket. Axar Patel has done well for them; Yuzvendra Chahal is in the squad too and Kuldeep Yadav is a good bowler. So they certainly have some good spin options and we have
to play them well throughout the series,” he added.
As Australia head coach Daren Lehmann has chosen to give the tour a miss, Smith said he was looking forward to working with assistant coach David Saker. “There are no issues with Lehmann not being here. Saker has been with us for a while now and we announced it about six months ago that Lehmann would skip the tour and Saker was going to take over,” he
According to the Australian, he was hoping leg-spinner Adam Zampa would prove to be his side’s trump card. “Zampa has had a good record in the last year or two. He has some experience playing in these conditions having taken part in the IPL. We know what to expect from him and if he gets his chance
Zampa can show us what he is capable of,” he said.
Smith heaped praise on spin consultant S. Sridharan, a true blue Chennai man, “for helping Australian spinners get accustomed to the sub-continent”. “Sriram has great knowledge on how to play in these conditions. He has helped our players, particularly the spin bowlers to understand the right way to bowl here — probably more in the longer format because the wickets don’t offer much to spin when compared to Test cricket. He still has a great knowledge of grounds across India and has been really good for this group,” the Australia captain added.