Shikhar Dhawan absence gives Australian cricket team advantage: Ashton Agar | india-vs-australia-2017 | Hindustan Times
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Shikhar Dhawan absence gives Australian cricket team advantage: Ashton Agar

Shikhar Dhawan has withdrawn from the first three India vs Australia ODIs due to family reasons. The absence of the in-form opener will give Australian cricket team some edge, felt Ashton Agar

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 15, 2017 14:38 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Australia's Ashton Agar and other teammates after winning the practice match vs BCCI Board President's XI at MA Chirambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.
Australia's Ashton Agar and other teammates after winning the practice match vs BCCI Board President's XI at MA Chirambaram Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.(PTI)

Australia started their mind games 48 hours ahead of the marquee ODI series against India by claiming an advantage after Shikhar Dhawan pulled out of the first three matches for personal reasons. (FULL COVERAGE OF INDIA vs AUSTRALIA)

With two centuries against Australia and an average of 44.71, Shikhar Dhawan was expected to propel India to quick starts with long-time ODI partner Rohit Sharma.

“Shikhar is in good form, so him not playing is a positive for us,” Australian spinning all-rounder Ashton Agar said at a press conference in Chennai on Friday.

Shikhar Dhawan’s pullout has left the India team management mulling last-minute changes to what was thought to be a settled top-order.

It also means India have Axar Patel as the only recognised left-hand batsman, making Australia’s bowling strategy a bit easier.

“Yes, it (left-right combination) can make things hard. In that case, ball swings in a particular direction, making things difficult for the fielding team. So now, (with Shikhar’s absence) it is a bit advantage for us. We have to go there for the best and see what combination they set,” Agar said.

The MA Chidambaram pitch at the warm-up game earlier this week assisted the spinners but it still remains to be seen if Australia will field two spinners in the first ODI. Agar himself was uncertain.

“It all depends on the wicket. Adam (Zampa) obviously is the frontline spinner in the squad and he has bowled really in these conditions in the IPL and previous tours. It’s obvious that he will start,” Agar said, adding: “If the wicket remains (good), I think there might be a chance (for me).”

Ashton Agar said wrist spinners like Zampa and Yuzvendra Chahal could have an impact on this series because they don’t have to depend on the pitch to extract spin.

“They are really valuable assets. They can spin the ball both ways. When it’s a night time, it’s hard to pick the wrong one as well. They are genuinely good bowlers and are wicket-taking options for the side. They can be hard to get away,” he said.