New Delhi: VVS Laxman is optimistic about India's chances in the ODI and T20 series in Australia next month, as he feels the home side are no longer the formidable team they used to be.
"This Australian team is definitely quite beatable and vulnerable. They have a depleted side. They do not have two key players -- Michael Clarke, who led them to World Cup victory, and Mitchell Johnson, who was lately one of the world's most lethal bowlers," Laxman said here on Wednesday, during a panel discussion on India's forthcoming tour of Australia.
"They also do not have Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson looks iffy and will be under pressure to perform. Steven Smith is injured and they have no Brad Haddin," VVS added.
"The only real danger will be David Warner. The key is to make him go for cover drives and not pitch anything short to him. He is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world today and the real substance in their batting line-up," the former India star said.
"India have a very good chance. Our bowlers are doing really well and Ravichandran Ashwin is bowling the best he has ever bowled in his life. India have quality plus the balance of the side is very good," said Laxman.
He praised Indian selectors for the T20 squad they picked for the Australia series, keeping in mind the approaching World T20, to be played in India. However, Laxman was not happy with manner Suresh Raina was excluded both from the ODI and T20 squads.
"One batsman who was treated harshly was Raina by not getting selected. It is difficult for a person who bats at No. 6 or No. 7 to come out when the asking rate is 8-10 runs per over. I agree he did not do well against South Africa in Indore and Mumbai, but he still should have made the side." the 41-year-old said.
"But then, I must compliment the selectors for doing a fantastic job. They have been spot on apart from Raina's exclusion. This is also an opportunity for the likes of Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Manish Pandey and Rishi Dhawan to do well and get noticed," he said.
Laxman praised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to come out and play the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
"Dhoni will find it challenging. It is all about match practice and rhythm. Even though he did not get as many runs as he would have liked for Jharkhand in Vijay Hazare Trophy, he still got some match practice of 6-7 games. This will help him. He did not get the same before the South Africa series," said Laxman.