Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], Sept. 15 (ANI): Australia, known for playing mind games, have once again started doing the same ahead of the five-match ODI series against India.

They have now claimed that absence of left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan will serve as an advantage for the visitors.

Dhawan has been released from the ODI squad for the first three matches as he look after his ailing wife.

The Delhi lad has been in tremendous form over the past few months, after making his comeback in the Champions Trophy. He was India’s leading run-scorer in that tournament, as well as the three-Test series against Sri Lanka, which Virat Kohli and Co went on to win 3-0.

“Yeah, I think Shikhar is in form. So, him not playing is a positive for us. But I pray for him,” Australian off-spinner Ashton Agar said during a press conference on Friday.

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

“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. (ANI)

This is published unedited from the ANI feed.