Melbourne, 5 Oct: Acutely aware of the massive challenge that awaits them in the One-Day Internationals series in India, Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin (in photo) today said his team would have to guard against the fear of losing in the rubber that would decide who would lead the world in terms of rankings.
“We have to adapt to the Indian conditions and make sure that we are not scared to lose. If we go with that attitude, we will be a very hard team to beat,” Haddin said before boarding the flight to India today. Australia, still smarting from the Ashes debacle earlier this year, are scheduled to play a Twenty20 match and seven ODIs in the series starting on 10 October in Rajkot.
“This series is massive for us. We have the opportunity to be number one in the world and that’s important to us. India have just come off an outstanding series in winning the last Champions Trophy,” said Haddin, adding: “From our point of view, there is no bigger test and the desire at the end of it is not only to win the series but also to become the number one one-day team in the world.
Currently, India are at the top in the International Cricket Council’s ODI team rankings with 123 points while Australia are second with 115 points. If Australia manage to beat India comprehensively, they will become the new number one team. India will retain their position at the top if they are able to win the series.
George Bailey, who will lead the Australians in the absence of an injured Michael Clarke, said he is looking forward to the challenge. "I love touring India because of the challenge of playing cricket in those conditions. They are the best team in the world at the moment and if we manage to beat them on their home turf, I think it really sets us up for a great summer for our one-day team,” Bailey said.  “Thirdly, I think if we win, 4-2 or 5-2, we become number one in the world again and that’s obviously something we are striving for,” he added.
Left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty said the key to success in India lay in being prepared for surprises.
“They are the World Cup-holders at the moment, this is a huge challenge in their conditions. The key in India is to have a good gameplan. I think anytime you are confronted with anything unusual, you have to be well planned. You have to play to your strengths and grab the momentum when you are on a roll, that is going to be crucial,” he explained.
In another development, coach Darren Lehmann has vowed there will be more stability in the Australian team for the return Ashes series after repeated chopping and changing in England without success.
Australia have used 17 players in the recent Tests against England and, including the matches in India earlier this year, have picked 22 players in their past nine Tests but failed to win any of them, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
Lehmann, who was parachuted into the Australia job just 16 days before the Ashes started after Mickey Arthur had been sacked, said he aimed at greater stability. "What we will do is settle the side once the team is announced," he told the Herald.