Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 12: Former skipper Sunil Gavaskar says the upcoming Australian tour will be very challenging for the Indian team but it will prepare the reigning champions well for their World Cup defence.
India will play four Tests and a tri-series also involving England in the tour, starting later this month. After the conclusion of the tour, in two weeks time, India will again travel to Australia to defend their World title.
"The Australian tour will be a hard one for Team India. They will have a real tough game. But it will be a good exposure to the team ahead of the next World Cup," Gavaskar told reporters at Kottukal, about 30kms from here.
The batting legend was here to receive an award, instituted by the state-based Sree Chithira Thirunal Trust for his remarkable contributions in the field of sports. Gavaskar chose not to comment about the controversy over Sachin Tendulkar's allegations against former team coach Greg Chappell in his newly-released autobiography.
But, he repeated his early statement that Chappell should have backed captains. On questions about Keralaite cricketer Sanju Samson, the legendary batsman said Sanju is a promising player and will find a place in the national team.
Earlier, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien presented him the award, comprising a cash prize of one lakh and citation. Gavaskar is the first sports personality to win the award.