Virender Sehwag has warned India to be wary of Australia even in the absence of Smith and Warner   |  Photo Credit: AP, File Image
Indian captain Virat Kohli will resume his captaincy duties in the upcoming tour of Australia later this month after being rested for the ongoing T20I series against West Indies. India’s biggest challenge on the full-fledged tour will be the 4-match Test series. After disappointing results in South Africa and England earlier this year, the pressure will be on Kohli’s men to leave their struggles from the past behind and bounce back in style. Ahead of the tour down under, former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has reckoned that it will be a daunting task for India to upset the hosts in their own backyard.
Against a struggling Australian side who are without two of their biggest stars Steve Smith and David Warner, India are being touted as favourites to win the Test series but Sehwag believes the absence of Warner and Smith won’t matter as Australians will put a great fight on their home soil and they have some talented youngsters who can be match winners on their day.
“Doesn’t matter if they (Australia) don’t have good players like Steve Smith and David Warner. They are playing in their own backyard,” Sehwag told NDTV in a chat show. “These players who are coming and playing in Test cricket have already played first-class cricket there. They’ve scored a number of runs. They don’t have much experience if you talk about international matches but they will give a good fight to the Indian team,” he added.
However, Sehwag expressed optimism on Kohli and co’s chances in Australia and backed the team to do well in the difficult conditions. India lost the Test series in South Africa 3-1 and was handed a 4-1 defeat by England at their home. Despite Kohli almost single-handedly demolishing the English bowling attack in the longest format of the game, Indian batting line-up failed to deliver up to the expectations.
India have since bounced back to clinically win the two-match Test series against West Indies at home with Prithvi Shaw making a sensational debut to cement his spot in the squad for Australia series. Kohli also continued from where he left in England and looked in fine form while Rishabh Pant was impressive with twin scores of 92 each in the two Tests.
India’s stand-in skipper in the ongoing T20I series Rohit Sharma also returned to the Test squad and will fight for an opening spot with Kl Rahul and Murali Vijay. Rohit can also be batted down the order given his red-hot form with the bat. He has been in magnificent touch against Windies and will look to carry his superb form against the Aussies in the upcoming series.