Melbourne, Feb 4: Australia skipper Michael Clarke declared his team as favourites to win ODI tri-series which also includes Sri Lanka as a third team but also said that it will have to be at its best to defeat the World Champions India in the opening game in Melbourne on Sunday, February 5.
"We have to play at our best to beat both these teams. They were both in the final of most recent world cup. We're the number one one-day team in the world so I'd like to think we are favourites," Clarke said today ahead of the opening match.
India finally registered their first win overseas in seven months by beating Australia by eight wickets in the first Twenty International here on Friday. Clarke praised the efforts put in by the young team.
"India is a very good team...the way they fielded last night is how you need to field in cricket. Fielding is a big part of our game and I certainly wasn't surprised by how they fielded. They are a very good outfit, there are some really good athletes in that team."
"That's the game. Unfortunately, you can't win every single game."
Clarke is expecting a large crowd at the MCG and felt that the crowd will be excited to watch world class teams.
"It's probably going to be a little bit harder for the Melbourne people tomorrow considering they have just played a Twenty20 last night. People have got only so much money so a lot of families can't afford in one weekend to go and watch two big games."
"We'll wait and see. If any city is going to turn out, it's Melbourne though. They're very supportive of Australian cricket and of sport," he said.
There were 62,000-plus crowd at the MCG to see India beat Australia by eight wickets in the second Twenty20 here last night.
Clarke backed out-of-favour wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and batsman Shaun Marsh, who are ruled out for ODIs, and said they could force themselves back in to the team.
"The team has been picked for the first three games so I think the selectors will talk before they select the team for the next group of matches."
"Hads (Haddin) just need to get back to scoring runs and keeping well. There's been a lot of talk about it, I don't think Brad's that bothered by it. He knows what he has to do, put numbers on the board and I'm sure he will get another opportunity."
"As for Shaun (Marsh), It will be no doubt good for him to go out and try and score some runs. I've said for some time he's a wonderful player and he needs to be scoring runs in all forms of the game. I'm pretty confident Shaun will turn that around.
"Guys have been picked on performance. They have performed either for their state or Australia. They've been given an opportunity and in the back of your mind you do need to continue to look forward but it's important especially against these two teams that we play our best cricket and concentrate on what's in front of us."
Now that Clarke is not part of Twenty20s, he said he was in no position to advice how to spread the Twenty20 games across the country.
"Obviously I'm not involved in the Twenty20s. So if there is more Twenty20 cricket, then I wouldn't be required. I'll get a longer break after the Test series."
"It's been the same for a while now in T20 cricket. I think it has probably had a fair amount of success domestically whether that be IPL, Champions League or Big Bash, so I'm not sure what they're going to do internationally, to be honest."