"Virat Kohli is a better limited over batsman, only just than Steve Smith. Steve Smith in my opinion is a better Test batsman right now than Virat Kohli," Clarke told reporters during a panel discussion on Tuesday in the national capital.
"Captaincy, I can't split them at the moment, I think it is very even at this stage. Two young captains, two very good players, two very good captains and they both continue to improve. At the moment though, like I said, what's important as a captain is that your team is winning and Virat Kohli's team is winning," he added.
Believing it to be a massive series for Steve Smith and company, the 36-year-old said they will aim to regain the top spot by scoring a 4-1 win against India in the ODIs.
"The Australian fans expect Australia to be at the top of the tree, to be number one in the world. So, there's a carrot right there, another carrot right there for Steve Smith and his team. But, this team really needs to have some success on this tour," he said.
He further said that though pacers Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are injured, the Australian team have got no excuses.
The five match ODI series will begin from September 17 and will be followed by three T2o internationals.
Schedule for ODI series:
September 17: First ODI, Chennai
September 21: Second ODI, Kolkata
September 24: Third ODI, Indore
September 28: Fourth ODI, Bangalore
October 1: Fifth ODI, Nagpur
India squad for first three ODIs: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhone, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvender Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.
Australia squad for first three ODIs: Steve Smith, David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.