Australia captain George Bailey on Saturday said that though his team wants to regain the top ranking in ODIs, it is unrealistic to expect that they would be able to thrash India 6-1 in the seven-match series that starts in Pune on Sunday. Australia have to win the series 6-1 or better to reclaim the top spot they last held in July 2012. India need to win two or more matches in the series to retain their No.1 ranking.
"I think it will be silly to go hoping for a 6-1 result. It's a long way away and realistically I will be very surprised if that happens. It's one match at a time focus for us," Bailey told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
Bailey, who is leading Australia in the series in the absence of the injured Michael Clarke, said India has a formidable batting unit and are also a well balanced team. He said though that Australia wouldn't target any particular Indian batsman in the series.
"India are very good. They deserve to be number one in the world. They were the best team in the Champions Trophy. They are a very well balanced side and we have to combat that. We are well placed to do that," he said.
"I feel their batting is very strong. They bat right through to eight and nine. Their top seven are really strong. But if you focus on one batter then another one is going to jump up and hurt you," he said.
India captain MS Dhoni said he expects his bowlers to adapt to the conditions and deliver in the series against Australia. He also said that the new ODI rules which stipulate the presence of one extra fielder inside the field restricting circle as compared to the previous one, has made things very difficult for the bowlers to restrict the opposing batsmen in the last 10 overs.
"In the last T20 game a fair amount of runs, 200 runs each, were scored. Overall the conditions were tough for the bowlers on both sides. But I am sure bowlers would adapt to the conditions as the series progresses and you can expect better performances out of both the teams (bowlers) who were expensive," Dhoni said.
Dhoni said that though Australia's squad is inexperienced, they bat deep and have enough bits and pieces players, who can do damage. "They have got quite a few bowlers who can bat and batsmen who can bowl. If somebody is having a tough time there are others to fill in. They are a very good side with a general approach that is aggressive whether batting first or chasing," he said.
Dhoni expects the pitch for the first ODI at Pune to be two-paced, adding he is glad with the manner in which Rohit Sharma had adapted to his role as Shikhar Dhawan's opening partner. When you are opening you know if the game is happening you will get to bat. That way you can be better prepared. Considering all of these you have to change your approach. And I think Rohit has adjusted to it very well. I hope he continues to improve in each and every game."
The India captain said it was time to come up with innovative ways to use a bowler differently.
"Hopefully, we can see how we can use different bowlers to the best of our ability to restrict the opposition and not give away those extra 20 runs," he said.
Bailey, meanwhile, didn't read too much into the fact that Australia had never lost a best-of-seven bilateral ODI series in India.
"I don't think there's any advantage. It's a nice statistic though but there's no advantage to be gained from this. I don't worry about it too much, I am not really thinking about maintaining the (winning) streak," he said.
Australia started their limited-overs series tour of India on a losing note when they were beaten by four wickets in the one-off T20 game at Rajkot.