Rohit , Dhawan, Kohli most important Indian batsmen: Clarke

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The cricketer turned commentator also praised Virat Kohli's fearless captaincy that has helped India dominate with their aggressive approach. In addition, the selectors' persistence with Hardik Pandya in all formats expresses their intent of carving an effective path to 2019. "He is exciting and is fulfilling the role of a finisher".

Besides giving further rest to key spinners, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, there are no major surprises in the Indian team. "While the skipper is like a friend, constantly trusting me to go ahead and implement the plans I wish to on the field, Mahi bhai is more like the mentor I turn to every time I have any doubt in my head", Chahal said. Don't go by the dictionary meaning of rested.

"I must say that thanks to the skipper, I now have the confidence to bowl anywhere in the innings and in any situation". Doesn't mean Ashwin is dropped, means youngsters are being given a chance.

Asked to take a guess on the scoreline, Laxman said: "4-1 to India because the Australian bowling department looks very weak".

The comparisons between Smith and Kohli are inevitable. "Virat is a better captain and while they are both young, Smith wasn't very proactive during the Test series. I think it will be played in good spirit", said Smith, on arriving in India for the five-match ODI and three-match T20I series starting 17 September in Chennai. Smith has already extended the olive branch and said he hoped the series would be played in good spirit.

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He spoke, if only briefly, about the historic double-allocation of the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games that he orchestrated.

"I think over the next few days, everybody would want to speak about Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli but at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing, and that is the team that wins". At the moment, Kohli's team is winning.

Aussies have tasted defeat at hands of India earlier in this year in the Test arena as they failed to retain Border Gavaskar Trophy.

While the series pits two heavyweights in the 50-over format against each other - Australia is ranked second and India third - the visitors are also chasing a return to the world No.1 ranking.

Laxman agreed, "It doesn't matter if they are verbal on the field but they have to show that high level of competitiveness which will always happen when India plays Australia". I've been battling, to be honest, probably the last 18 months.

Having made winning a habit and boasting of a renewed vigour and aggression under the new captain Virat Kohli, comparisons were bound to happen between the present Indian squad and the Australian team in its prime.

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