Rohan Gavaskar said that the return of the Australian duo of Steve Smith and David Warner tilts the balance slightly in favour of Australia particularly when Virat Kohli will only be available for the first Test match after being granted paternity leave by the BCCI.
Kohli will be a part of limited-overs series but will miss the last 3 Tests of this tour to be beside his wife Anushka Sharma as the couple expects their first child in January.
Rohan Gavaskar: Return Of Steve Smith And David Warner Makes Australia Different As They Start Favorites
In an exclusive interview to Hindustan Times, former Indian cricketer Rohan Gavaskar discussed the matter that the series is more an individual battle while also throwing light on the importance of an India-Australia series. Australia will eye revenge after being humbled by India the last time they met in Tests in 2018-2019 in Australia.
“Absolutely it (the return of Steve Smith and David Warner) just adds so much more to the Australian side,” said Gavaskar.
“Last time we went to Australia as favourites. I don’t think anybody was surprised by the result. This time around, Steve Smith and David Warner, two of the best batsmen of the world returning to their side will make it different. Australia will start as favorites,” Gavaskar said highlighting India’s historic 2-1 win in the 2018-19 tour.
The former left-handed middle-order batsman, who is the son of legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar and incidentally made his international debut in an ODI in Australia back in 2004, however, was quick to add that a balanced Indian side will provide a spectacle for the viewers. Rohan Gavaskar featured in only 11 ODIs where he scored 151 runs and picked a solitary wicket.
“We are a fantastic side. The balance of bowling and batting that India have will make it a great series. Over the last 10-12 years that is the rivalry that most cricket fans look for,” Gavaskar said.
Indian side in Tests will comprise of batsmen Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane while the limited-overs side will see likes of batsmen Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan.
Rohan Gavaskar: Indian Batsmen Capable Of Handling Pace And Bounce In Australia
Rohan Gavaskar was asked to further explain why the discussion is centred on two players Virat Kohli and Steve Smith as the series is looked at as a face-off between the two modern-day greats, he answered positively mentioning that fans should stick together and enjoy both of the exceptional players batting showcasing their skills.
“I’m going to go with something that you said. You called Steve Smith the Virat Kohli of Australia and not the other away around so I’m gonna with that. But I would actually say why are we hell-bent on saying A is better than B. We’ve got two exceptional players out there, showcasing their skills, entertaining us, why can’t we sit back and enjoy both of them bat,” he added.
Talking about Indian batting it out against a pace battery comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, Rohan Gavaskar said that India have enough quality in their batting line-up to cope the Aussie pacers in their own backyard.
“Indian batsmen are very much capable of handling pace and bounce in Australia. The conditions might favour them a bit but this Indian side is top class. I’ve got absolutely no doubt in mind that they’ve got the skills, both mental and physical to handle to whatever is thrown at them in different conditions,” he said.
India will play three ODIs and three T20Is before the four-match Test series of Border-Gavaskar trophy kickstarts with the first-ever day-night Test between the two sides at Adelaide on December 17. India have played only one day-night Test before this tour, which was against Bangladesh at home. So, the upcoming day-night Test match against the hosts Australia will be India’s first overseas day-night pink ball Test.