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India tour of Australia: Ganguly reveals why Virat Kohli and Co have best chance to beat Australia

Sourav Ganguly reveals why Virat Kohli and Co have best chance to beat Australia in Australia

Kolkata, Nov 15: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes the Indian team under Virat Kohli has the "best chance to beat Australia" in absence of their premier players Steve Smith and David Warner.

Cricket Australia's board has resolved to respond to the call to lift the bans on Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft by next week, but all indications are they are not ready to bring the trio back to international cricket early.

India tour of Australia: Full Schedule

The ensuing Test series down under offers an opportunity for Virat Kohli and Co to salvage pride by winning in Australia after they suffered successive overseas Test series defeats in South Africa and England.

Ganguly feels the Indian team is capable of winning their first-ever series down under if it plays to its potential against a depleted Australian side. Team India last came close to winning a Test series on Australian soil during their tour of 2003-04 under Ganguly's captaincy.

Team India needed to win the fourth and final Test match at Sydney to claim the four-match series 2-1, but Steve Waugh's gritty knock of 80 along with Simon Katich's 77 on the final day of Test match saved the Aussies from the humiliation. The Sydney Test, also Waugh's final Test, ended in a draw and the series was shared.

The Kohli-led Indian side will play four Test matches against Australia with the first five-day contest commencing in Adelaide on 6 December.

Ganguly on the absence of Smith and Warner:

Ganguly on the absence of Smith and Warner:

"This is like the Indian team not having Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. It's a huge factor," Ganguly said.

"It's a great moment for Indian cricket. This is their best opportunity to beat Australia," the former India captain added.

Steve Smith is ranked No. 2 in Tests and was the leading run-getter when Team India last toured Australia for the four-Test series in 2014.

Warner was equally menacing in the series and tormented Indian bowlers with his explosive batting. The absence of these two would definitely dent the prospects of the Aussies against a formidable Indian side.

Impressive Indian pace attack:

Impressive Indian pace attack:

The Indian pace attack had impressed in England in their 1-4 series loss and Ganguly said, "I have seen in England that they (bowlers) have taken 20 wickets in almost every Test."

Ganguly, however, warned the Indian team to remain cautious.

"But you also have to keep in mind that Australia in Australia are a different kettle of fish. Many feel that they are a weak outfit but I don't think so," Ganguly added.

Hardik's injury affects team balance

Hardik's injury affects team balance

With Hardik Pandya out injured, the team management faces a tricky decision -- whether to play six specialist batsmen (apart from Rishabh Pant) and four frontline bowlers, or go in with five specialists in each department. It's a dilemmathat most modern-day captains face," said Sourav.

Ganguly in his captaincy tenure always played with six specialist batsmen overseas.

"I generally relied on four bowlers while playing overseas because I could chip in with a few over or turn Viru (Sehwag) or Sachin to give the pacers a breather. Unfortunately, Virat doesn't have such options.

Batting Rohit at No. 6:

Batting Rohit at No. 6:

"If you ask me, I would bat Rohit at No. 6 and go in with three pacers and one spinner. The simple logic is that Rohit is batting at his best and you don't leave out a batsman of his calibre when he is in such good nick. Moreover, Rohit is very strong square of the wicket which is a prerequisite for success on Australian pitches," Ganguly added further.

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Story first published: Thursday, November 15, 2018, 12:36 [IST]
Other articles published on Nov 15, 2018
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