India are finding out just how difficult a tour Down Under can be after surprisingly losing to England by nine wickets in the most recent tri-series one-day international in Brisbane.
They were undone by a fantastic bowling display from James Anderson and Steven Finn before England reached their victory target with ease. The nature of this defeat, to what many see as a weak England ODI side, will do nothing for their self-esteem and confidence.
They have found life tough in Australia after losing the Test series comprehensively against an aggressive Australian side who dominated their Indian counterparts in all departments. If it wasn't for captain Virat Kohli India could have been embarrassed further.
Blow to morale
The current defending ODI World Champions are finding their preparation for the upcoming World Cup less than ideal. This recent defeat, which followed their defeat to Australia in their first game of the tri-series, is a body blow to the team's morale.
They should be using this tri-series to fine tune their skills but instead they are licking their wounds from yet another defeat, leaving the tourists without a victory two months into their tour.
They will need to seriously reverse their fortunes if they are to stand any chance of defending their World Cup title. They will need to regroup and refresh themselves somehow because losing can be just as much a habit as winning.
India will need to battle not only Australia and England but also themselves and the conditions. Fast bouncy wickets are not ideal for Indian batsmen but they must find a winning formula if they are to stand a chance of challenging for the World Cup again.
It will be a serious blow, and a shock, if India are to finish bottom of the current tri-series table.
England know only too well how a poor tour Down Under can affect their cricket for months to come. Twelve months ago England had lost the Test series 5-0 to Australia, and were about to lose the one-day series 4-1. It has taken England a long time to recover from that tour and, some may argue, they still haven't recovered just yet.
It can be a very draining tour particularly when defeat follows defeat and for those players who will have been on tour from start to finish it will possibly be the toughest tour they will embark on.
Australia in Australia are a formidable force and they have the ability to make very good sides look poor. In stark contrast to India the Aussies will be more than happy with their preparations for the World Cup and, for me, they head into the World Cup as favourites to land the trophy.
India have a lot of hard work to do to reverse their fortunes and they must start now.
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