Sourav Ganguly, the current BCCI president believes that the series will be an even contest this time around but believes India led by Virat Kohli are capable of winning in Australia who are back to full strength with the inclusion of David Warner and Steven Smith.
Sourav Ganguly who himself led India to a Test tour in 2003 when they tied the Test series 1-1 against strong Steve Waugh’s Australia after leading India to a famous series win at home in 2001.
Sourav Ganguly: 50-50 Chance For Both But Which Team Bats Well Will Win
Virat Kohli, India’s most successful Test captain with 33 Test wins, won the last time India toured Australia with Cheteshwar Pujara scoring bulk amount of the runs in 2018-2019. Australia were without Steven Smith and David Warner who were banned for ball tempering offence for a year.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly expects the Test leg consisting of four matches to be a stern challenge for Virat Kohli’s India but reckons they can overcome the challenge.
“Australia in Australia is always tough. They will be a lot stronger with (Steve) Smith and (David) Warner back. Players like (Marnus) Labuschagne have become better,” Ganguly said in an interview.
“It will be a good test for India, but they are capable of winning. It will be a good series.”
As a player, Sourav Ganguly had toured Australia thrice, even leading the country in 2003 when they tied the Test series 1-1 which was best result for Australian tour until Virat Kohli broke the record by leading India to a historic maiden Test series win (2-1) in 2018-19.
“It’s a 50-50 chance for both teams. Runs on the board will be important. Whoever bats well will win the series,” the former captain added.
India has a pace attack consisting of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini who may be in XI if fit.
“India has the pace attack to match Australia. There is (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, (Navdeep) Saini. The attack is as good as Australia’s.”
Mohammed Siraj and Umesh Yadav are the backup pace options.
Sourav Ganguly: Selectors Will Rethink If Ishant Sharma And Rohit Sharma Are Fit
There could be key additions to India’s 18-member Test squad if the duo of pacer Ishant Sharma and batsman Rohit Sharma recover in time for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which commences later in December after completion of T20I and ODI series.
“We are monitoring Ishant and Rohit. Ishant is not completely out. He will become a part of the Test series,” he said.
“With Rohit, we want him fit for Australia. At some stage if he is fit, I am sure the selectors will rethink his position.”
With Rohit Sharma currently in the UAE with IPL table-toppers Mumbai Indians and Ishant Sharma undergoing rehabilitation in India, Sourav Ganguly said there was the option of flying the duo later than the rest of the squad to Australia despite stringent rules.
“They can be sent later. There are flights to Australia.”
Rohit Sharma is recovering from a hamstring injury to his left leg, but his franchise remains hopeful of his participation later in IPL.
Ganguly responded by saying: “We haven’t seen him playing.” when asked if the star batsman should be advised to drop out of IPL to prevent risk of aggravating his injury
The first Test of the Australia series will be played under lights in Adelaide.
“Pink-ball is the way forward in Test cricket.” he said.
Sourav Ganguly had initiated India’s first day-night Test in Kolkata last year against Bangladesh, allaying Indian players’ apprehensions with the pink ball.
“They played with it in India.” said Ganguly. “Players got used to the white ball and ultimately they will be fine with the pink ball too. ”
Sourav Ganguly said India should look at their track record and take confidence for the opening test.
“India won in Adelaide in the last series, which was also the first Test. We won there in 2003 too.”
He also confirmed that the issue of accommodating families with the touring party for the tour has been resolved with support from Australian cricket board.
India will have a domestic season that will begin next year as confirmed by Sourav Ganguly who also expressed hope that the next IPL edition in April-May will be played in India.
“Hopefully the vaccine will be out by that time and we can host it,” he added, while UAE remains a fall-back option for the Indian board.
Teams like Chennai Super Kings are waiting for clarity on auctions, but Sourav Ganguly said it hasn’t been decided yet as BCCI waits for the current IPL to conclude.
Sourav Ganguly named the likes of Sanju Samson, Shubman Gill and Devdutt Padikkal as the youngsters to watch out for after having successful IPL and had a specific message for Mumbai’s Suryakumar Yadav.
“He is a very good player,” said Ganguly. “His time will come.”
The batsman has impressed with his range of strokes and big runs in difficult situations for Mumbai Indians this season, yet failed to find a place in India’s short-format squads to Australia.