Australia will start as favourites because of Steve Smith and David Warner: Rohan Gavaskar
The upcoming six-match limited-overs series followed by the four Tests have been painted more like Virat Kohli vs Australia rather than being Australia’s payback series against Team India.
A glance at the famous Australian websites, newspapers and sports magazines might confuse you a bit. There is one man that is dominating the headlines and he is not an Aussie. He is India captain Virat Kohli. The upcoming six-match limited-overs series followed by the four Tests have been painted more like Virat Kohli vs Australia rather than being Australia’s payback series against Team India.
In India, it might not have reached to that extent but the return of Steve Smith and David Warner seems to be the talk of the town making this India’s tour down under more personality and individual-centric perhaps than ever before.
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In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, former India cricketer Rohan Gavaskar discussed the same while also throwing light on the importance of an India-Australia series.
Gavaskar said the return of Steve Smith and David Warner tilts the balance slightly in favour of Australia particularly when Kohli will only be available for the first Test match after being granted paternity leave by BCCI.
“Absolutely it (the return of Steve Smith and David Warner) just adds so much more to the Australian side,” said Gavaskar. “Last time we went to Australia as favourites. I don’t think anybody was surprised by the result. This time around, Steve Smith and David Warner, two of the best batsmen of the world returning to their side will make it different. Australia will start as favourites,” Gavaskar said highlighting India’s historic 2-1 win in the 2018-19 tour.
The former left-handed middle-order batsman, who incidentally made his international debut in an ODI in Australia back in 2004, however, was quick to add that a balanced Indian side will provide a spectacle for the viewers.
“We are a fantastic side. The balance of bowling and batting that India have will make it a great series. Over the last 10-12 years that is the rivalry that most cricket fans look for,” Gavaskar said.
When asked to further explain why the discussion is centred on Virat Kohli and Steve Smith and the series is looked at as a face-off between the two modern-day greats, Gavaskar had an interesting answer.
“I’m going to go with something that you said. You called Steve Smith the Virat Kohli of Australia and not the other away around so I’m gonna with that. But I would actually say why are we hell-bent on saying A is better than B. We’ve got two exceptional players out there, showcasing their skills, entertaining us, why can’t we sit back and enjoy both of them bat,” he added.
Talking about Indian batsmen being up against a pace battery comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Gavaskar said India have enough quality in their batting line-up to cope the Aussie pacers in their own backyard.
“Indian batsmen are very much capable of handling pace and bounce in Australia. The conditions might favour them a bit but this Indian side is top class. I’ve got absolutely no doubt in mind that they’ve got the skills, both mental and physical to handle to whatever is thrown at them in different conditions,” he said.
India will play three ODIs and three T20Is before the four-match Border-Gavaskar trophy kickstarts with the first-ever day-night Test between the two sides at Adelaide on December 17.