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Former Australian captain Ian Chappell recently revealed his feeling for the India tour of Australia in the upcoming summer. The 76-year-old believes that the all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s presence will help the Indian team during the Test series against the hosts Australia.
In this pandemic, the India tour of Australia 2020/21 is a much-awaited programme in international cricket. Apart from playing the three-match T20I and ODI series, India will also play a four-match Test series in this Australia tour (part of the 2019-21 ICC World Test Championship).
While India won their first-ever Test and ODI bilateral series in Australia in their last tour in 2018/19 summer, Ian Chappell feels that it will be not that easy for this strong Asian side due to the present strong Australian side. As the Aussie batting line-up is stronger than India’s previous tour, Chappell believes that Hardik Pandya’s presence is very important in the Indian team which can help the pace bowling line-up.
In his recent column for ESPNcricinfo, Chappell wrote, “It will help if Hardik Pandya is available. He gives India an extra bowling option to maintain the pressure when the leading fast bowlers need a rest.”
Having Hardik Pandya at seven would necessitate Rishabh Pant keeping and batting at six: Ian Chappell
Chappell further added that while the Sydney Cricket Ground (Sydney) would host the last game of the four-match Test series, India could utilise Pandya as the third seamer in this final Test to open an opportunity for the second-spinner.
Chappell added, “This is Pandya’s chance to gradually build up overs in the three Tests before the SCG match, where he could act as the third seamer so that a second spinner can be included. Having Pandya at seven would necessitate Rishabh Pant keeping and batting at six.”
However, Hardik Pandya has recently claimed that his Test cricket future is doubtful due to the fitness issue, while he feels his importance in limited-overs cricket.
Chappell thinks that it will be tough for the Indian team to choose the spinners between off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav. The former Aussie captain feels that Kuldeep can be dangerous on Australian pitches while Jadeja has improved his bowling skills, but Ashwin hasn’t a good record in Australia.
India’s biggest challenge will be navigating a strong Australian batting line-up: Ian Chappell
While Steven Smith and David Warner were not present during India’s last tour in Australia, Chappell pointed out that the Indian team would now face more difficulties against the improved Aussie batting line-up.
He quoted, “India’s biggest challenge will be navigating a strong Australian batting line-up. In addition to Smith and Warner, the meteoric rise of Marnus Labuschagne at No. 3 has helped solidify the batting. Australia are now far less reliant for success on big contributions from Smith and Warner.”
While he has the full faith in the present Aussie bowlers, Chappell is not confident enough on the Aussie opener Joe Burns.
The four-match Test series between the hosts Australia and the visitors India will run between 3rd December 2020 and 7th January 2021.