Yuvraj Singh hugs Suresh Raina after India beat Australia in the 2011 World Cup, with a disappointed Brad Haddin in the background. (AFP Photo)
Melbourne: Well aware of the massive challenge that awaits them in the upcoming ODI series in India, Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin on Saturday said his team will have to guard against the fear of losing in the rubber that would decide the world number one.
"We have to adapt to the Indian conditions and make sure that we are not scared to lose. If we go with that attitude, we will be a very hard team to beat," Haddin said before boarding the flight to India on Saturday.
Australia, still smarting from the Ashes debacle earlier this year, are scheduled to play a Twenty20 match and seven ODIs in the series starting October 10 in Rajkot.
"This series is massive for us. We have the opportunity to go number one in the world and that's important to us. India have just come off an outstanding series in winning the last ICC Cup [the Champions Trophy]," said Haddin.
"From our point of view, there is no bigger test and the desire at the end of it is not only to win the series but also become the number one one-day team in the world," he added.
Currently, India are at the top in ICC ODI team rankings with 123 points while Australia are second with 115 points. If Australia manage to beat India comprehensively, they will become the new number one team while India will retain their position at the top if they are able to win the series.
George Bailey, who will lead the Australians in the absence of an injured Michael Clarke, said he is looking forward to the challenge. "I love touring India because of the challenge of playing cricket in those conditions. They are the best team in the world at the moment, and if we manage to beat them on their home turf, I think it really sets us up for a great summer for our one-day team," Bailey said.
"Thirdly, I think if we win, 4-2 or 5-2, we become number one in the world again and that's obviously something we are striving for," he added.
Meanwhile, left-arm spinner Xavier Doherty said the key to success in India lies in being prepared for surprises. "They are the World Cup-holders at the moment. This is a huge challenge in their conditions, something that we haven't played as well as we should have," he conceded.
"The key in India is to have a good game plan. I think anytime you are confronted with anything unusual, you have to be well planned. You have to play to your strengths and grab the momentum when you are on a roll, that is going to be crucial," he explained.