As India gear up to defend the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, former captain Mohammad Azharuddin has advised them to be wary of Steve Smith. The much-anticipated four-match Test series gets underway on December 17 with the historic day-night Test at the Adelaide Oval.
It will be the first-ever day-night Test between the two teams. India won the last two editions of the series and are eyeing a record third. But unlike their last tour of Australia, things will be tough this time around, thanks to the availability of the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner.
Both Smith and Warner were serving the bans imposed on them for the ball-tampering scandal when the series was underway Down Under two seasons ago. India had defeated Australia by 2-1 to win their first-ever Test series Down Under. And with the Virat Kohli-led side eyeing another win in Australia, Mohammad Azharuddin had some words of advice for them.
“(David) Warner is not there (for the first Test), but Steve Smith also is a very big rock for the Indian side. But the moment you get out Steve Smith quickly, then you have a very good chance. Because these are two players who play really well, especially Warner,” Mohammad Azharuddin said while answering a question by Sportskeeda on the online show ‘Ray Events Cricket Conversation’.
Warner has been ruled out of the first Test because of an injury he picked during the second ODI against India last month. Smith, nonetheless, can turn out to be a big obstacle for India. The former Australia skipper has a stunning record against India in Tests. He averages 84 in the ten matches he has played against India scoring 1429 runs with the help of seven centuries and three fifties.
Prediction for the series:
Mohammad Azharuddin was also asked to predict the winner of the series. Several former cricketers have made their predictions already for the blockbuster series. However, the former India cricketer did not pick a winner and said that India have a very good chance. He also highlighted that India need to improve their fielding.
“I think it’s very hard to say that we are going to win the series. But we have got a very good chance, but we have to play well. If you play well, you win…Play well means you have to excel in all three departments.
“I think off late fielding has been a problem, we have dropped very, very simple chances, ground fielding also has not been up to the mark. Definitely slip fielding is going to be a problem for India,” Mohammad Azharuddin said.