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A five-match ODI series is ideal

india Updated: Oct 25, 2009 01:10 IST

Cricket does not stop for anyone. At least in India it doesn't. We are barely through with the Champions League T20 and the ODI series against Australia is upon us. These schedules though are something the modern cricketer is used to. What shouldn't be thrust upon them is a seven-match bilateral series.

I am of the firm belief that a series between two teams should be restricted to five matches. A five-match series is good enough to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of either side and for a winner to emerge thereof, so I don't see the point of stretching matters.

The Aussies are coming off a seven-match series against England and a successful Champions Trophy. They are thus the team to beat if your own team's superiority is to be proved.

Brett Lee’s return only adds to their firepower. Many of their players are well used to Indian conditions now and the presence of people like Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh, both of whom thrived in the first season of the IPL, should make up for the initial absence of Michael Clarke.

Watson, we must remember, is coming off back-to-back tons in the Champions Trophy. Of course, there is always their skipper Ricky Ponting, who has been their key for a while now and continues to be so.

Virender Sehwag’s return is the best news possible. But the concern is that he’s back from a shoulder injury, where the order of recovery is always batting first, bowling next and finally being able to throw the ball.

Sehwag showed in the CL T20 that he had no problems while batting but since he hardly bowled, I’m not sure if he is bowling fit as yet, which also means questions about his throwing arm.

ODIs in India are usually played on batting-friendly tracks, which makes it imperative for someone like Sehwag to be able to bowl too. Just the normal four-five bowlers won't do, as the need is to mix things up on these tracks. The return of Munaf Patel should lend stability to the Indian pace attack but much will depend on spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra. Indians must also capitalise on Australia's one weakness, their spinners.

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