Aussie spearhead Bichel awaits ~~Sachin~~ challenge

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 2:31 [IST]
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Sydney: Indian batting champion Sachin Tendulkar will be one of the biggest challenges that Australia's new bowling spearhead Andy Bichel will confront on his team's cricket tour of the subcontinent. Australia leave Sydney on Wednesday for a four-week Limited Overs tournament against India and New Zealand, and with Australia's bowling stocks drastically depleted by injury, Bichel takes over as the team's leading paceman. The big-hearted Queenslander said it would be a big challenge as he has never toured India and has bowled just once to Tendulkar for his state several seasons ago. "That's the toughest challenge," Bichel said on Tuesday of bowling to Tendulkar on his fancied batting surfaces. "We've got to play Sachin (in Tests) out here this summer coming up, so it would be nice to get some wood on him on his own turf just coming into the Australian summer," Bichel said. "So we're going to be right on our game and try not to give him some momentum coming into this summer." Bichel carried a massive workload in the two Tests against Zimbabwe after Jason Gillespie, Stuart MacGill (both in Perth) and Brett Lee (in Sydney) broke down. The extra pressure meant Bichel suffered an infected big toe on his left foot, the result of sending down 92 overs in two Tests. "It's just part of being a fast bowler, you generally go through one a year and I'm just going through it at the moment," he said. Australia's injuries mean Bichel and Queensland teammate Michael Kasprowicz could take the new ball in their first match, a day-night clash against India in Gwalior on Sunday. "The guys have been there, they've done it and it's going to be a good test for us, but no doubt we are underdogs coming into this," he said. The tour will also be a good test for Australian opener Matthew Hayden, who this week said he was keen to get back to the Indian wickets where he cemented his place in the side two years ago. Hayden hit 514 runs in three Tests in the 2001 series and has not looked back, moving into the elite category of Tendulkar and West Indian Brian Lara. Australia play six pool games, with the final to be played in Calcutta on November 18. Australian squad: Ricky Ponting (capt), Adam Gilchrist, Michael Bevan, Andy Bichel, Nathan Bracken, Michael Clarke, Ian Harvey, Matthew Hayden, Brad Hogg, Michael Kasprowicz, Jimmy Maher, Damien Martyn, Andrew Symonds, Brad Williams.

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