February 15, 2013

Former Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram feels India has an edge over Australia in the upcoming Test series between the two nations, starting on February 22 at Chennai.

“India go in as favourites. This is the most inexperienced Australian team I have seen in my life. Though they are talented, the inexperience in the batting line-up, especially in the middle-order, will offer an advantage to the Indian spinners. Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey are not there. Yes, Michael Clarke is in tremendous form and they have talented left-handers like David Warner and Phil Hughes.

They both hit the ball well, but Test cricket is a different ball game. India’s off-spinners are likely to trouble them even with the new ball. Australia won’t be too comfortable playing on turning wickets. After winning the ODI series against England, India seem to have rediscovered some form. I would say that India have a 70% chance of winning this series,” Akram was quoted as saying by Times of India.

Akram suggested that India have a huge advantage in the batting department.

“If they bat responsibly, they will win this series. Their batsmen need to bat with patience.They must learn from the art of batting for a day-and-a half from Sachin Tendulkar.These youngsters are unable to do that today. You just can’t come out and play your shots. You have to grind it out in the middle.”

Akram was shocked when Gautam Gambhir was excluded from the team.

“A match-winner like Gambhir, when he is going through a lean patch, must be supported by the captain and the selectors. You need to give him confidence. He is just 31 and not 37. Hence, one needn’t look beyond him. Such batsmen need one innings to come back into form and get their footwork going again. He is a world-class player across all formats. You need to play an experienced batsman against Australia. It was a big shock to me that he was dropped.”

The Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach feels reverse swing will be the decisive factor in the series.

“Reverse swing. The SG Test ball reverses a lot.Whoever reverses the ball better, will win the battle. England beat India in the Test series because their seamers were reversing the ball twice as much as their Indian counterparts. In the middle-overs, when a partnership gets going, the fast bowlers need to bring that into play.”

“For India, it would be Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh (key players). For the Aussies, the key men are Michael Clarke and Mitchell Starc.”


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