New Delhi: Team India is all geared up to take on the formidable Australians in the limited-over series that kicks-off from September 17 at the Chidambaram Stadium. But more than the two fierce rivals facing each other in the ODI series, the competition among fans and analysts seem to be quite different – Who is better: Steve Smith or Virat Kohli. And Former Aussie skipper does have his opinion ready. The Indian stands atop on the ODI chart while Steve Smith will grab the Test honours, as per Clarke.
"In limited-overs cricket, I think Virat is ahead of Steve, but just by that much. Smith I believe is a better Test batsman," Clarke said on Tuesday. "I think over the next few days, everybody would want to speak about Steve Smith vs Virat Kohli but at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing, and that is the team that wins. It doesn't matter who makes the runs - Kohli or Smith. At the end of the day, your job as a captain is to win.
"Another focal point besides their batting is their assessment as leaders. And honestly, at the moment, I think it's very even at this stage of their careers. Two young captains, two very good players and they both continue to improve. Along with that, like I said, what's important as a captain is that your team in winning. And at the moment, Kohli's team is winning. Smith needs to find a way to crack that momentum early on in the series and needs to find a way for Australia to pick it again."
Well, one can actually agree with the Aussie. Since taking on the limited-over responsibilities for the Men in Blue on January 2017, Virat led his side to the finals of the ICC Champions Trophy. The team then grabbed the ODI series against West Indies 3-1 and bundled out Sri Lankan hope with an astonishing and historic 5-0 whitewash.
The team from Down Under have however been unfortunate on their recent tours. After a 1-2 defeat in the Border-Gavaskar Test series against India, Steve Smith-led side failed to even cross the league stage of the Champions Trophy. And of late, the team pulled off a draw against Bangladesh in a two-match Test series.
The in-form home side have already embarked on their journey to the 2019 World Cup and the selectors have a specific plan on their mind. And Clarke feels this is the right time for the Aussies to take a foot forward in the same direction.
"I think it's time for the Australian team to really decide how they want to approach 2019 World Cup. The likes of Smith, David Warner, the support staff; they've got to work towards finding what is the right technique and style for these players," Clarke said.
"Are they going to be an aggressive team? Will their top order go hard or will they try and consolidate for 50 overs and have wickets in hand? There's still plenty of time before the World Cup but the whole squad really needs to start now. The players need to identify their roles during this India series. Hopefully they attain success and carry it forward into the Australian summer.
"Their form over the last few months has been very inconsistent. They haven't played as much cricket as they would have liked. The Australian fans expect Australia to be at the top of the tree, to be No. 1 in the World and if we can beat India, I think 4-1, and then we will get there. It's a great chance for Smith to get their form going."
Following a five-match ODI series, the Aussies have a T20I series lined up against the Indians.