Ahead of the well-awaited tour to Australia, Sourav Ganguly has stated that India has the pace attack to match the home team and also revealed that the families would be allowed to travel. Regarding Ishant and Rohit, Ganguly cited that they are being monitored to be part of the series.
Following months and months of negotiation, re-negotiation between Cricket Australia (CA) and local authorities, the dates for the mega bilateral event was finally announced earlier this week. It leaves the Indian team with three weeks of time before the start of the ODI series Down Under, following the conclusion of the 13th season of the IPL. While last year, an Indian team led by Virat Kohli created history by winning the series 2-1, this year the return of Steve Smith and the development of Marnus Labuschagne would stand as a challenge for them.
However, BCCI’s president Sourav Ganguly stated that the Indian team has the pace attack to match the hosts Australia despite injuries to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma. He added that the troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Shami is as strong as their Australian counterparts. While stating that there is a 50-50 chance for both teams, Ganguly opined that India have a chance of winning the series.
“India has the pace attack to match Australia. There is (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, (Navdeep) Saini. The attack is as good as Australia’s. Australia in Australia is always tough. They will be a lot stronger with (Steve) Smith and (David) Warner back. Players like (Marnus) Labuschagne have become better,” he said, reported Hindustan Times.
At the same time, Ganguly also cited how crucial batting performance would be for a win Down Under.
“It will be a good test for India, but they are capable of winning. It will be a good series. It’s a 50-50 chance for both teams. Runs on the board will be important. Whoever bats well will win the series,” he added.
Just ahead of the series, India were dealt with a blow, after injuries to Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma during the course of the IPL season. However, the BCCI president confirmed that they are constantly monitoring the two players and would want them to be fit for Australia while confirming that the families would be allowed.
“We are monitoring Ishant and Rohit. Ishant is not completely out. He will become a part of the Test series. With Rohit, we want him fit for Australia. At some stage if he is fit, I am sure the selectors will rethink his position. Yes, the players’ families will be allowed. The Australian cricket board has been very supportive."
For India, the first major hurdle in the series would be at the Adelaide Oval, where they would face the hosts in a Pink-ball Test match. Australia’s impeccable record with the pink-ball would come in as a threat but Ganguly believes that India’s history of winning in Adelaide would prevail. Ganguly also confirmed that CA would allow crowds for the series but didn’t go into depth with the details.
“Pink-ball is the way forward in Test cricket. Australia will also allow crowds. So, it will be great. It will mark a return to some sort of normalcy in cricket. India won in Adelaide in the last series, which was also the first Test. We won there in 2003 too. India has a history of winning at Adelaide. And India is going with a good bowling attack.”