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October 8, 2013
George Bailey's side may be no match for the great Australian teams of recent vintage but Rohit Sharma feels India cannot afford to take them lightly during the seven-match ODI series, given the visitors' experience of playing in Indian conditions.
"They are a very competitive side with most of their players having featured in the IPL and the Champions League," Rohit told PTI. "They know the Indian conditions well. We can't get complacent against them. Australia on a given day are a very dangerous side."
Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson are the only two players in the Australia squad to have featured in more than 100 ODIs but Rohit refused to read too much into the relative inexperience of the others. "They are still a very competitive side," Rohit said. "Their batters are match-winners. We have to be at our best against them."
However, Rohit admitted that Australia would miss their regular captain and most experienced player Michael Clarke, whose chronic back problem has ruled him out of the series.
Following years of largely underwhelming performances in the middle order, Rohit has enjoyed success after being promoted to open the batting this year, and averages 41.42 in 16 ODIs since. However, his strike-rate in those matches dropped to 68.63 compared to a career figure of 75.61. With two new balls being used in ODIs now, Rohit said an opener had to be watchful initially.
"You need to be cautious with the new ball upfront. You have to plan your strategy accordingly. The shot selection becomes important for you as an opener, like what shots you have to play, which areas you have to go after. The new rules are more helpful to bowlers."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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