Spin legend Shane Warne backed India as favourites to win the four-match series against Australia but said the hosts should expect quality cricket from the opposition and not brush them aside as predicted by a few former cricketers.
Shane Warne, who was part of the Australia squad which last won a series in India in 2004, said: “India are huge favourites. They’ve had a remarkable run at home recently and they’re always hard to beat in India. I think there are six-seven players in the Australian side that haven’t toured India before with us being the last successful side. Having said that there are a few good young players and I feel this is going to be a close contest. I know it’s easier to say whitewash to India but... I know India are favourites and Australia are underdogs, but this is going to be a close contest.”
Shane Warne, Australia’s highest Test wickettaker, also had a few tips for captain Steve Smith, who will look to avoid a tenth successive defeat in Asia when his side begins action against India in the first Test starting at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Thursday.
“I hope they don’t pick too many left-handers. That works straight into the hands of (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin. Jadeja bowling into the rough to the left-handers makes it so hard to play. But to right-handers, he has to come over the wicket and bowl on the off-stump, which makes his job a lot harder. So I would like to see the likes of (Mitch) Marsh and (Glenn) Maxwells play rather than the (Matt) Renshaws and (Usman) Khawajas.
“Australia needs to approach this series in a much more attacking manner. Even though they might get out cheaply, I guess that’s the only way they have a chance to win this series.”