Virat Kohli has warned his Indian players they won’t have it as easy in Australia next summer after accepting they had beaten a weakened team in last year’s historic Test series win.
This week’s three-match one-day series between the two teams will act as something of a forerunner to next summer’s major prize.
India and Australia are first and second in the world rankings, and are well clear at the top of the World Test Championship.
India’s 2-1 series victory to claim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last summer was the first time any team from Asia had won in Australia.
However, they did it against an Australian side missing Steve Smith and David Warner, who were still serving their 12-month bans.
“Having won last year, that gives us a lot more confidence going back,” Kohli said.
“This time around, the series is going to be different, in terms of their batting challenging our bowlers.
“To be fair, last time around, the players were not that experienced.
“If you take out David (Warner) and Steve (Smith), Marnus (Labuschagne) came in but he played only one game.
“It’ll be a challenge for us to break through that batting order but it’s a challenge we should look forward to.
“The series will be right up there with any of the best series we’ve seen in the past five or six years.”
Kohli’s comments came after Tim Paine admitted last week he already had one eye on the Indian Test series, noting how much his Australian side had changed.
Six of the Aussies’ likely squad for the next summer are in India for this week’s ODI series, but Kohli says no advantage can be taken from that into the Tests.
He is more concerned with Australia’s red-ball record since their 2-1 defeat at home.
While India have been undefeated in Test series since mid-2018, the Aussies have since flogged Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand while also retaining the Ashes.
Labuschagne has also emerged as one of the world’s best batsmen, with his Test average of 63.43 only second to Sir Donald Bradman.
“The way he’s shaped up in the last summer, it’s amazing,” Kohli said.
“He’s shown so much consistency that’s always good to watch at the international level.
“He has the hunger and the passion – you can see it in his game.
“We should not look forward to easy games and, going to Australia, you should not expect anything easy.”