Aussies will have advantage in India, says Clarke
Aussies will have advantage in India, says Clarke
The Steve Smith-led side, which lost the Test series 2-1 to India earlier this year, will play five ODIs, with the first in Chennai on Sunday.
Smith captained the Pune franchise in the last edition of the cash-rich IPL, arguably the world’s most popular Twenty20 tournament.
Players like David Warner, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins have had successful IPL stints and Clarke said the team should have no excuses in the shorter format.
“It’s not just the wicket you are batting on or the ground you are playing, it’s the heat, the food you eat, the hotel you’re staying at,” Clarke told reporters.
“(With) these players now being involved in the IPL, India is like a second home because you spend so much time here.
“Yes, it’s a shame we don’t have Mitchell Starc or Josh Hazlewood available unfortunately due to injury. Those two will be missed.
“But this Australian team has no excuses. They know the conditions really well... and this is a massive series for us,” he said, predicting a 3-2 win for the visitors.
Clarke saw a “carrot right there” for the Australians, who will topple South Africa from top spot in the ODI table if they beat India 4-1.
The cricketer turned commentator also praised Virat Kohli’s fearless captaincy that has helped India dominate with their aggressive approach.
India not only regained their No. 1 Test spot under Kohli last year but recently blanked hosts Sri Lanka 9-0 across all three formats.
“I think this team has certainly got that aggression in them... they are led by an aggressive captain. Seems to me that Virat is not scared to lose and that’s a great advantage,” said Clarke.
Indian batting great VVS Laxman, who was also present at the event, said he did not foresee any controversy in the ODI series.
In the Test series Kohli had expressed his displeasure after Smith looked up to his dressing room while deciding whether to review his lbw dismissal in the Bangalore match, and a war of words erupted between the two captains.
“They are not only two modern-day captains but two modern-day greats. In such a short span of time the impact these two players have had on international cricket is just amazing,” said Laxman, who made a match-winning 281 against Australia in the epic 2001 Kolkata Test.
“And I think when you are playing international cricket it’s not necessary to be friendly on field... I am sure both will go all out and be aggressive and win the matches for their team... They are both trendsetters according to me,” he said.
Laxman picked India to win with a 4-1 scoreline.
LIVE: Mohamed Salah in the side as Egypt face Russia
9.12PM: Mohamed Salah still yet to come into the game, but Egypt looking much brighter than in the first minutes...
9.05PM: Russia commanding the early stages and looking likely to score...our man Salah yet to make a considerable impact...
8.55PM: The anthems have been sung - a rousing rendition from the Russians - and we're ready to get this game under way...
8.50PM: And here he is — Salah is out warming up and looking ok, well at least from out vantage he is...
8.40PM: At the risk of stating the obvious, all eyes will be on Salah tonight. In Saint Petersburg, the city of Russian royalty, can he live up to the mantle of Egyptian King? There's little doubting Cuper's side need him to be at or near his best, can his shoulder take the strain, both literally and metaphorically?
For Russia the lineup is as expected, Cheryshev starts having come of the bench against Saudi Arabia and scored a brilliant brace.
8.30PM: Both lineups are out here they are...
RUSSIA Akinfeev, Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Zobnin, Gazinsky, Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev, Dzyuba. Subs: Lunev, Semenov, Kuzyaev, Dzagoev, Smolov, Kudryashov, Granat, Aleksey Miranchuk, Anton Miranchuk, Erokhin, Smolnikov, Gabulov.
EGYPT El Shenawy, Fathi, Gabr, Hegazi, Abdel-Shafy, Hamed, Elneny, Salah, Said, Trezeguet, Mohsen. Subs: El Hadary, Elmohamady, Gaber, Morsy, Kahraba, Ashraf, Sobhi, Hamdy, Shikabala, Samir, Warda, Ekramy.
8.20PM: There is little doubt the return of Salah will give the Pharaohs a big boost, just a quick glance at his stats during his record-breaking season at Liverpool will tell you why..
8PM — BIG NEWS: Egypt go into the crunch clash against Russia knowing defeat will all but end their hopes of making it to the second round, but also buoyed by the return of their talisman, Mohamed Salah.
The Egyptian ace has been named, as expected, in Hector Cuper’s starting XI to face the hosts in Saint Petersburg having missed the 1-0 defeat to Uruguay on Friday.
It may be expecting too much to expect the 26-year-old to provide the spark so missing from Egypt’s loss to the South Americans — there is still some confusion over just how well his shoulder has recovered since injuring it in the Champions League final — but there is little doubt that for all the side’s calm and poise in possession they lacked a cutting edge and Cuper is doubtless hoping Salah can provide it this evening.
The hosts come into the match relaxed and, thanks to the Salah show, not the center of attention. Their 5-0 opening-day win over Saudi Arabia has both removed doubts about the side’s ability and set them up well for a stab at making the knockout stages.
Can Salah upset their home party? The next few hours will tell.