India can win first Test series in Aus: Gilchrist

Published: Monday, December 5, 2011, 18:35 [IST]
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A good chance for India says Gilchrist

Mumbai, Dec 5: Former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist feels India has a great opportunity to register their first ever Test series victory Down Under as the former world number one side is currently going through a transitional phase.

"Its a good chance for India with Australia being through somewhat of a transitional period. They are still finding their way. India have got a few good results in the last couple of series (against Australia).

"I think Australia are aware of that. They need to be on top of their game to hold on to their (undefeated) record at home against India," he said at a press conference on Monday.

The 40-year-old left-hander, who represented Australia in 96 Tests and 287 ODIs scoring 5570 and and 9619 runs respectively, was of the view that unlike England, pitches in Australia would favour the Indians.

"I think the last two tours when India came to Australia, batsmen had certainly dominated. The Indian batsmen especially have accommodated these conditions very very well. In 1999-2000, when I played first against India in Australia, the conditions were a bit more difficult for them. There was a lot of grass on the wicket and a lot of bounce.

"(However) The general view is that wickets have tamed somewhat and the Indian players - they are world class players - will certainly find ways to score hundreds in those conditions. I wouldn't say there will be dead wickets but maybe not as spicy as it used to be in previous years.

"The English conditions were a difficult challenge. From what I saw, there were pretty tired players in the Indian set- up in England. Hopefully they are fresh when they come to Australia and I am looking forward to that challenge," he added.

India are slated to play four Tests, beginning December 26 in Melbourne, followed by two T20s and a tri-series tournament also involving Sri Lanka.

Gilchrist also spoke highly of young Indian speedsters Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.

"Aaron and Yadav looked to me like good bowlers. I was very impressed with them in the IPL though it was short cricket. They don't look like the stereotypical Indian fast bowlers. I see new breed of modern cricketers coming through, stronger with more physique. If they manage to pick up and are managed well they would be very valuable to the Indian set-up.

"I think both nations have got terrific young prospects in their bowling department particularly in fast bowling. I have seen some of these bowlers during IPL who are now bowling in Zaheer's absence. I am sure they will enjoy bowling in Australian conditions," he said.

Gilchrist also backed his former skipper Ricky Ponting, who is under pressure to announce his retirement, to make it for the series against India.

"I wouldn't expect him to be left out of the Indian series. He is keen to play. His last two innings as a player have been as impressive as anything in quite a while. He is the second best player from Australia after Sir Donald Bradman. He is the only one to know when he should finish international cricket but I would say the selectors are quite keen to have him. I am sure he will be featuring in that series."

Asked whether the absence of discarded Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh would rob the series of its aggressiveness, he said, "I am not in a position to comment on why he was dropped but but he was a great contributor to the aggressive mindset cultivated in the Indian team by Saurav Ganguly. But the general rule now is that Indian teams come to Australia with a more positive mindset."

He recalled the epic 376-run partnership between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid in the famous 2001 Kolkata Test that helped India carve out a historic win over Australia after trailing by 274 runs in the first innings and following on.

"It was one of the greatest Test victories ever. To come from behind and win the match. That is the finest batting I have seen in my professional life. It was a great match even though we were on the wrong side of the result," he added.


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