India are set to travel to Australia later this year, where they will lock horns with the Tim Paine-led unit in a four-match Test series. The Men in Blue, and especially their bowlers, will be looking to emulate their heroic feats of the last tour, where they outbowled their famed Aussie pace bowling counterparts to help the team register their maiden Test series win Down Under.
But this time, the challenge will be significantly stiff as Australia will field a full-strength batting-unit-led by Steve Smith and David Warner. Both Smith and Warner missed out on the last India-Australia series due to the 12-month ball-tampering ban. Post his return, Smith reclaimed his numero uno spot in Test rankings by spearheading Australia’s Ashes campaign in England, where he scored more than 700 runs at an average of 110.
“His unconventional batting style makes it even more difficult”- RP Singh on Steve Smith
Smith loves batting against India. The right-hander has scored 1429 runs in 10 Tests against the Men in Blue at an average of 84.06, including seven hundreds [the second-most against any team] and three half-centuries. Smith scored 769 runs in the last home series he played against India [2014-15], and according to RP Singh, one of the biggest reasons behind Smith being such a tricky batsman to dislodge is his unconventional style.
“I personally think Smith is going to be the biggest challenge for our bowlers during the Test series. He’s been in phenomenal form ever since his return to international cricket. He climbed to the number one spot in the Test rankings for batsmen in no time despite not playing for more than a year,” RP Singh told MyKhel.
“His unconventional batting style makes it even more difficult for the bowlers to dismiss him. He’s going to be the biggest threat for sure and the contest between bat and ball, Down Under, is definitely going to be very interesting,” he further added.
That said, the Indian pace-bowling trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami have shown in the past two years that they are capable of dislodging the best in the business across varied conditions. And, if they can emulate those feats, in Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, India have enough ammunition in the tank to once again beat Australia in their own den, feels RP Singh.
“If we talk about Team India, our pacers are also world-class and they capable of picking up 20 wickets in a game. As far as our batting is concerned, we have quality players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. Their performances will be key to India’s success Down Under this time around as well,” RP Singh said.