Waugh predicts 2-1 win for Australia against India

Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 13:45 [IST]
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New Delhi, Nov 29: Australia may be an "unsettled" team due to a few setbacks and sweeping changes in the past six months but former captain Steve Waugh still foresees Michael Clarke's men winning 2-1 against India in the Test series starting next month.

Australia, a team struggling to retain its aura in a period of transition, will square off against India in a four-match Test series starting December 26.

"It's a difficult one, but Australia might spring up a surprise and win 2-1," Waugh said.

Waugh, who was part of the review committee on whose recommendation changes were made to the team set-up, said Australia will take time to gel as a team after getting a new coaching staff.

"We've gone through a lot of change in the last six months in Australian cricket. I was part of the Argus review which made a lot of recommendations. Some of those are just being implemented," Waugh told ESPN's 'Sportscentre' programme.

"New coach Micky Arthur, new group of selectors with Clarke and Arthur part of it, so it's a period of change in Australian cricket and may have unsettled the team a little bit.

"So it's probably our biggest danger right now. I see guys out on the park being talented enough to beat any team, but they haven't been together for a long time," he added.

Asked if it is India's best chance to beat the Aussies in their own backyard, Waugh said at least that is the mindset Dhoni's men should have for the tough assignment.

"I hope they think that way because it won't be that easy. Australia still has world class players, some young players coming in and we are very difficult to beat in Australia, no matter what team we put out in front of our home crowds and home conditions", he said.

"It's a lot like coming to India and playing in Indian conditions, for any touring side its always difficult to win away. And particularly in Australia. A hostile environment for opposition teams, spectators are very one sided and our pitches suit our bowlers more than in any other country," Waugh said.

Recalling the infamous 2008 series in which the two sides were embroiled in the 'monkeygate' scandal, Waugh hoped that the bitterness has been forgotten.

"Hope that it doesn't play on the minds of the teams. It's good sometimes that you create some tradition and history and it wasn't the best thing to look back on.

"It created headlines, a lot of publicity, got people talking about cricket. It was unfortunate it happened and unfortunate the way it was handled and kept going on and on. But these are two different sides so its best to forget the past and move on," he said.

On whether India has become a more intimidating outfit since the 2008 series, Waugh said, "It's changed over the last 15 years, it's become a serious threat now. When I was playing, India and Australia were two top Test playing sides and that's carried on today as well."

"Two very competitive sides at the top of world cricket. The Border-Gavaskar trophy is pretty special to the players, it's almost on par with the Ashes from an Australian point of view, so all of Australia is looking forward to it," he added.

Waugh felt if the injured Zaheer Khan, who has been provisionally included in the squad, fails to turn up match fit, India could find themselves in a soup.

"Absence of Zaheer would obviously matter as it gives India the edge. He's been a world class quick over the last few years" he said.

Talking about the youngsters in the Indian team, Waugh said they bring with them the element of surprise which might be tough for the Aussies to handle.

"I think it's going to be the surprise element of your bowlers. Just recently watched a bit against the West Indies, so I liked the young quicks you got - Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.

"I also liked the two spinners (R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha). They've done a good job and compliment themselves well. So, they are bowlers the Aussies haven't seen much, so as such they will be a danger," he said.


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