Brett Lee expects Australia to find it difficult to stamp their authority in the forthcoming ODI series against India despite their recent successes in the format. They beat England 6-1 and went on to win the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa without dropping a game.
"You could put the favourites tag on the Australian team if we were playing somewhere else but, regardless of what has happened in the past, it doesn't really count when we are playing in India," Lee said in Hyderabad, where he is part of the New South Wales team for the Champions League Twenty20. Lee said Australia played some "really, really good cricket" to confirm their status as the No. 1 team but playing India at home was always an uphill task.
"We have to make sure we play our best cricket and of course that experience and momentum will filter on after those last two one-day tournaments we have played and hopefully enable us to play some decent cricket."
India made early exits from the World Twenty20 in England and the Champions Trophy in South Africa after injuries to key players like Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Yuvraj Singh forced them to field weaker sides in those events. Sehwag and Yuvraj are now fit and Lee said their return would make it tough for the visitors.
"They are a very, very unpredictable side in the nicest way possible and are capable of beating any side on their day. It is a going to be an extremely tough series and I say that based on the experience of having played here."
Lee said the pitches would no longer favour the home side completely. "We are now used to playing on low, slow turning wickets and some of the players have played on such pitches during the Champions League."
The previous ODI series between the sides in India served as evidence to Lee's point: Australia beat India 4-2 as Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin and Mathew Hayden easily overcame the home challenge. But there are only four members from that squad - Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson, James Hopes and Lee - on this trip. But Lee is not worried. "Some of us are playing the Champions League. It is a perfect entrée into the series," he said.
Lee, who missed the Ashes after picking up an injury at the start of the series, made a successful return, taking 14 wickets in the seven-match series against England, including a five-for at Lord's. "I will never stop bowling fast," Lee said. "I want my Test spot back. I want to be able to take that new ball for Australia in Brisbane."