Tackling spin in India not a concern on flat decks: Michael Clarke

New Delhi, Sep 13: Australia’s problems playing spin in Bangladesh just a week back has left the apprehension that Steve Smith and Co. might stumble on this familiar failing in the upcoming ODIs in India, beginning in Chennai this Sunday. However, the trend of flat one-day international pitches offers some hope for the largely spin-vulnerable Aussie line-up.

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke suggested this almost-unwritten-rule of flat decks would even out some of Australia’s shortcomings. “Conditions in Test matches and ODIs are a lot different. You get flat pitches to bat on in ODIs and T20s. 95 percent of the pitches around the world are similar in ODIs,” Clarke told TOI on Tuesday. “You don’t have to worry about dealing with spinners on Day 3, 4 and 5.”

The scores from the last ODI series Australia played in India – in 2013 – lend credence to Clarke’s views as 300s and 350s were scored and chased down with consummate ease. This is a departure from the early days of Clarke’s career where turners awaited visiting teams in India even in ODIs. On his first tour in 2003, Australia defeated India in a tri-series final in Kolkata on a pitch that turned square from the first ball.

“It is a combination of quality of spinners and the pitches,” Clarke said. “Those days you faced very high quality spinners in Harbhajan and Anil Kumble. In Test cricket, it became tougher. Ashwin and Jadeja too have done that in Tests. These days and on these kind of pitches, Australian batsmen shouldn’t have much of a problem. If Australia can win the first game, they will be in with a real shot.”

The flat pitches suggest that the difference could instead lie in the quality of the respective spin attacks. “We will be happily sponsoring Ashwin and Jadeja to play for us if India don’t need them for the first three games,” Clarke chuckled. “That’s the advantage India have. I think Kuldeep Yadav is a superstar and he will be a big part of the team going forward.”

In the spin department, Australia, in a rare occurrence, match India’s ammunition for the first three games. Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar will have a lot to shoulder. “Man-to-man, I would say Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are two big misses,” Clarke said.

Australia have a fair mix of players who are key in their IPL sides. Yet, the batting beyond Smith and David Warner needs to fire consistently. “People like Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner will need to have a good series. The top four need to fire,” Clarke said, dispelling doubts over Warner’s future once he lets go off his big, heavy bat after this series: “At the moment, Warner could even bat with a stump!” (Michael Clarke will be commentating for Star Sports in the India-Australia limited-overs series)

Source Times Of India