Steven Smith in Pune yesterday
Pune: It's not often that the Australian cricket team begins a Test series as second favourites. It's even rarer for an Australian captain to admit it on the eve of a Test series. But when a side that has lost its last nine Tests in Asia takes on a side that is unbeaten at home for 13 Tests this season, it only makes sense that Australian skipper Steve Smith admits his boys are underdogs against India in the four-match Test series that begins at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium Stadium here today.
'Yes, we are underdogs'
"Yes, I guess we are the underdogs in this series. You hear comments of Harbhajan Singh who expects us to lose 4-0. That's not how we feel though. We want to compete here against India. It's going to be a tough series, they've got some quality players in their line-up from 1 to 11. So yes, it's going to be difficult," Smith said in the pre-match press conference.
Steven's learning curve
Smith led the Australian side that was whitewashed by Sri Lanka in the Emerald Isles last year. And the Australian skipper believes that series taught him a lot about how to lead in sub-continent. "I learnt quite a lot out of playing in Sri Lanka. Things didn't go to plan there, but as a captain I've learnt a bit about how to go about things in the subcontinent. "Playing in these conditions, there's a different tempo that always goes on. So for me, it's about identifying these periods and not letting the game get away before you start to defend, or attacking quick enough. It's about identifying those moments and coming up with the right plan."
Smith believes that not worrying about the end result is the right way to look at the game. "For us it's about not the results over here. It's worrying about the processes and making sure that individually we have the game plans in place to give ourselves the best chance to succeed." Easier said than done!