"I think there are similarities in this Indian team and Australian units over the years. To be honest, I must say that Sourav Ganguly deserves a lot of credit for the environment he created. He never took a backseat and that has transpired on. Dhoni, Kumble, Kohli have all done it their own way. Led by an aggressive skipper they are not afraid to lose. But credit must go to Sourav," he said.
While the two teams will clash in the limited-overs format this time round, they met earlier in the year to play a Test series which saw Kohli fail with the bat. But Clarke feels it counts for nothing as winning is what matters at the end of the day and the Indians won a hard-fought series. "At the end of the day it comes to who wins. Doesn't matter how many runs you score," he clarified.
Clarke feels that this series will begin Steve Smith and boys' preparation for the 2019 World Cup and it is important that the team management takes calls accordingly as winning this series could provide the perfect boost for the team.
"The support staff has to work out the way they wish to play. Whether they want to play an aggressive brand of cricket or wish to hold back and play the full quota of overs. We still have some way to go before the 2019 world cup, but honestly we have not won as much as we would like. A carrot right there for Smith and the boys because if they win 4-1 then they become the no.1 side again," he said.
Clarke also feels that unlike previous Australian teams, the current crop doesn't have the option of using acclimatisation as an excuse as India is now a second home for almost most of the Aussie players.
"The experience of playing in India makes it all the more easier for the Aussies. India is like a second home for these guys as they have played in the IPL. They know the conditions and the opposition so there can't be any excuse for Smith and boys," he reiterated.
Asked to compare both Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, Clarke said that in the limited-overs format, Kohli is slightly ahead and as for captaincy, it is too early to judge as both have just about started off.
"Kohli is a better ODI batsman just because Smith is better in the longer format. Captaincy wise, both are improving. At the moment I would put Kohli on top in the captaincy battle as his team is winning," he said.
Clarke feels that finisher Hardik Pandya will play a vital role for the Indians and the best part for the all-rounder is to have someone as experienced as MS Dhoni in the side.
"Hardik has a huge advantage of having Dhoni in the set-up. It is a big boost when you have someone with such experience in the line-up and helping out the youngster," he said.
But Clarke decided to finish off in style when asked who was favourite to win the series. "3-2 to the Aussies," he smiled.
First Published: September 12, 2017, 4:13 PM IST