Australia ‘different ball game’, says India’s Sharma

Australia 'different ball game', says India's Sharma

NEW DELHI: Batsman Rohit Sharma said India were brimming with confidence after their crushing home victories over the West Indies — but warned that winning their first Test series in Australia was a challenge of a different order.

India completed a 3-0 Twenty20 series sweep over the West Indies on Sunday, to add to their 2-0 Test whitewash and 3-1 victory in the ODIs, extending their dominating home form.

But Sharma said an away series against old rivals Australia, even without their batsmen Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who are banned for ball-tampering, would be a much sterner test.

“Australia is always challenging when it comes to going out there and performing. Every time you go there, you are tested as a player, as an individual and as a team as well,” the veteran opener said after Sunday’s win.

“I think we have got to be at our best and when you win a series like this (West Indies) and when you play like that in the tournament you are high on confidence. It’s all about taking that confidence to Australia and doing what we did as a team.”

India barely have time to catch their breath before heading on Friday to Australia, where the first of three T20 matches is in Brisbane on November 21. They will also play four Tests and three ODIs.

The world’s number one Test side are only too aware that away from home, their form is fragile. They went down 2-1 in South Africa and then 4-1 in England this year.

Sharma said India must “start fresh” and forget about their recent wins if they are to take their home consistency to Australia.

“Australia will be a different ball game I completely understand. But I think the things that we have been doing as a team and as a player, we keep repeating it,” he said.

“The best teams in the world keep repeating those performances. It will be important for us that we start fresh. Not think about what we have done in the past.”

Sharma, the only batsman to hit four T20 centuries, is part of India’s squad for the Tests which start in Adelaide on December 6 after being overlooked for the five-day games in England.

“I am someone who doesn’t think too far ahead. So I am focusing on the T20 series first,” said Sharma.

“Of course the Test match is something that I was looking forward for a long time and it will be nice to go out there and represent India in Tests, but we want to win the T20s first.”

He added: “The last time (2015-16) we played a T20 format in Australia we won 3-0.”