Touted as the ‘clash of the titans’ – the ODI series between India and Australia garnered immense hype purely because of the quality of players and talent on display after a long time. But contrary to the expectations, the first ODI between the two heavyweights turned out to be a one-sided affair as India suffered an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat versus Australia at Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday.
Shocked with the result, former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar criticized Virat Kohli‘s men for their poor performance in the first ODI of the three-match series. Akhtar believes the men in blue lacked hunger and fire to tackle the strong Australian team boosted by the return of – David Warner and Steve Smith.
“It was a big day that was to decide which one of the two was the better side,” Akhtar said in his latest video on his official YouTube channel. “But surprisingly India were humiliated. Their bowlers conceded record runs and surrendered. They could not pick even a single wicket!”
“It was a big reality check for India. Australia walloped India, made a mockery of the bowling attack. If Australia win the toss again, the same sequence of events will follow.
In the first ODI, India were first restricted to a below-par score of 255, which was then easily chased down by Australia, who rode on brilliant unbeaten centuries from skipper Finch and Warner. “It will be embarrassing if India lose 0-3. India’s confidence was nowhere close to being the best. I’m finding it utterly shocking,” he added.
Akhtar was also not happy with Virat Kohli’s decision to bat lower down in the order, saying that the Indian skipper should bat at his usual No. 3 spot in order to provide solidity upfront.
“Toss was crucial, India lost the toss and lost the game. Shikhar Dhawan played well. Kohli coming into bat in the 28th over is hard to understand. ”
“Kohli cannot come in the 28th over, period. He needs to bat earlier. India were smashed, battered, hammered by Australia,” the Rawalpindi Express said.
According to the former Pakistan speedster, it will be a herculean task for the Kohli and co. to make a comeback into the series. For that, believes Akhtar, India need to play aggressive cricket in the remaining two matches.
“If India do not play ruthlessly, they will keep losing. I think they can still make a strong comeback, they have to. India can still take the series 2-1, but it will be a huge task,” he said.
“India needs to come out with a lot of vengeance, if they don’t, they will be hammered again. Want to see a more aggressive team in the next ODI,” Akhtar added.
The next match between India and Australia is in Rajkot on January 17 (Friday). While the third and final ODI of the series will be played in Bengaluru on January 19 (Sunday).