Indian Test cricketer Ajinkya Rahane seemed intent on disarming Australia with deference and politeness, as the two XIs get ready to begin their Test series.
The vice-captain dismissed the notion that Australia are vulnerable and that the Baggy Green are still the favourites.
According to Ladbrokes, the home ground is worth eight cents, which is the bookie equivalent of a coin toss, one in which no matter which side comes up, the bookies have an almost certain break-even scenario, which coupled with their slice of the action, seems to be a market made in heaven.
“I feel Australia are still the favourite to win this series,” Rahane told reporters on Tuesday.“Yes, they miss Steve Smith and David Warner but I don’t think they are vulnerable.”
Rahane and the rest cleared customs with nary a nail file in sight and the way Australia have been playing of late, the first Test is the last Test in which Australia will enjoy favourtism.
Smith and Warner will be out until the early part of 2019. The other suspended player, Cameron Bancroft, will be eligible to return soon, but his being available is no guarantee of selection and even if he were, his status as a newcomer does not help his cause.
Rahane’s politeness seemed bottomless and inexhaustible.
“Definitely Steve Smith and Warner are quality players, I am not going to take anything away from them.But on a given day, anyone can score a hundred.”
Rahane was hopefully talking about one of the Australian batters, although the top proposition for a century has to be India’s Virat Kohli.
Then, perhaps when he mentioned 100, he meant the entire contingent of Australian batsmen.
Speaking of those same, Rahane said, “Their batsmen, yes, are not that experienced but still I feel they are equally dangerous.”
Rahane praised Australia’s bowling attack and this was no case of insincere flattery, as Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon have well-established track records.