Former Australia player turned commentator, Mark Waugh believes the formula for India to win ODI matches in Australia is to bat first. Waugh was asked if he thought that India will perform better in ODIs than in Tests to which Waugh replied, "I hope so. They started well in Melbourne but I don't know why they want to keep bowling first."
Waugh thought it was mind-boggling to bowl first with only two pace bowlers in their team. "Why don't they bat first? Batting is their strength and in Australia, it is easier to defend a total than chase it. Rather than playing a guessing game with the weather, India should back their batsmen to score runs and put Australia under pressure."
"I'm not sure what the stats are, but from my experience we set our game plan on batting first and choking the opposition with our fielding and bowling. India have fielders who can choke the Australians," he said on television.
Waugh was impressed with the fielding of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma and Co but had mixed feelings whether the youngsters will succeed in Test matches. "Firstly, the Indian selectors need to give them go. After that, one wonders if they are good enough after batting on such flat wickets in India. They have to improve their pitches, the likes of Raina, Rohit are decent batsmen but on those wickets most people will score runs."
The other doubt Waugh had about the young cricketers was their hunger to succeed after getting healthy pay cheques in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Waugh compared getting a contract in the IPL to winning a lotto at a young age. "If you get a large sum of money when you are 20 or 21 there is no doubt it will affect your dedication."
The Fox Sports commentator said the performance of India in the ODI series could influence the future of ODI cricket in Australia. He believed if Australia dominate every match against India and Sri Lanka, the interest in ODI will reduce significantly. "If you take, a look there were around 60,000 spectators for the Twenty20 and half of that for the ODI in Melbourne, so the game is in decline. Ideally, it should be a five-ODI series than a tri-series which will drag on, especially if Australia dominate."