Australia have not won a series in India since 2009. The team has lost two consecutive bilateral series, including their first-ever bilateral ODI series loss at home when they lost 1-2. Heading into the contest, Australia face an uphill task against an Indian side who have conquered Australia and New Zealand. Virat Kohli is back and the Indian team are building momentum ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 which will be held in England in May. The Australian cricket team’s ODI fortunes are also on the wane, having not won a bilateral ODI series since 2017 against Pakistan but Usman Khawaja believes the team can turn around their fortunes in the upcoming contest against India.
“You just have to adapt to whatever you get here. As the Australian cricket team, a lot of guys have had some really good performances in India in the past, so I think we can draw from that,” Khawaja told Cricket Australia’s official website.
Khawaja said the nature of the pitches in India are good for batting but they will have to encounter spinning conditions, a factor that has hurt Australia tremendously in the recent past. The left-hander has had experience playing in India, having featured in a couple of Indian Premier League games for Rising Pune Supergiant in the IPL and in the World T20.
“I played in that T20 (World Cup) and the wickets were really nice. I found there was probably one wicket that spun a fair bit in Dharamsala, the other ones in Mohali (twice) and Bangalore were pretty good batting surfaces,” Khawaja said.
Despite the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner, Khawaja believes there are good players in the side who can contribute at vital times. “There's a lot of good players in this team, which is awesome. It's good to have options. A lot of guys that are in this team are quite flexible on where they can play so whatever happens moving forward I think everyone will do quite well in whatever role they have,” Khawaja said.
Australia’s series against India begins on February 24 in Vizag with a Twenty20 International followed by another T20I in Bangalore on February 27. The series will end with five ODIs and this will be India’s last bilateral assignment before the IPL and the World Cup.