Mumbai, November 6: The unavailability of Australian batting stalwarts Steve Smith and David Warner has made India the front-runners to win the upcoming four-Test series Down Under, feels former stylish left-hander Vinod Kambli.
Impressed with Virat Kohli's imperious form with the bat, Kambli also showered praise on the India skipper, who turned 30 on Monday and is breaking record after record, saying he is hungry for runs and gives 110 percent on the field. "Our chances are bright. We are going to win the series (in Australia). These two batsmen (Smith and Warner) are not there, so take full advantage," Kambli told PTI on Tuesday on the sidelines of the second camp of the Tendulkar- Middlesex Global Academy, which began at the MIG club in suburban Bandra.
Smith and Warner are facing a year-long ban after their involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa. India are heading to Australia for a long series, which comprises three T20s, four Test matches, which will be followed by three One Day Internationals. The first Test begins in Adelaide on December 6.
Kambli said, "He (Kohli) is hungry for runs. And the hunger to do well, that is what is very good to see in him. The work ethics plus the way he is on the field, he is giving his 110 percent. So the main thing which I like about his playing and batting is the hunger for runs, he is very hungry." Kambli, 46, along with childhood friend and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar and former Rajasthan coach Pradeep Sundaram was mentoring children who came for the camp and also gave tips to Australia-bound young Mumbai opener Prithvi Shaw.
Shaw made a dream Test debut by notching up a century at Rajkot against West Indies and reminded Kambli, who played in 104 ODIs, of his own younger days in cricket. "He is a stroke player, goes after the ball and likes to get runs. In fact he likes to play his shots," said Kambli.
So what advice does Kambli have for Shaw? "Play your natural game," he said. "I have always spoken to him (Shaw) and I just said to him, 'play your natural game'. I said 'don't think too much, just go out there, enjoy your game and just be confident'. That is very important, when (he goes) for tours like Australia or plays anywhere else. I hope that he does the same," he explained.
Meanwhile, Kambli said they spotted some good talent at the D Y Patil Stadium in neighbouring Navi Mumbai, where the first camp concluded on Sunday. "We had the first camp in D Y Patil (Stadium) and it went very well. We have wonderful coaches. The first lot in D Y Patil was good to work with. This was Sachin's dream to give back something to the game. I have been associated with kids, this is another experience to meet good talent," he signed off.