During their playing days, Steve Waugh and Sourav Ganguly were tough competitors, often playing on each other’s mind. They played the game hard and while Waugh was the epitome of composure, Ganguly was exactly the opposite.
Tuesday morning, Steve Waugh didn’t agree to the former Indian captain’s recent comment that Australia could lose the upcoming Test series in India four-nil.
“It will be foolish to write off Australia. I have known this Australian team and they can spring a few surprises. They have some match-winners in the team and I think Sourav is a bit optimistic ... anything can happen.
“May be he is right, but I will love to challenge Sourav on that part. Certainly, Australia won’t be going to India thinking that they will lose four nil.”
“Everyone’s form overseas has been dismal and there is no reason for that. Neutral umpires, decisions can be reviewed and there is no excuse for this. I really don’t know what the reasons to lose overseas are. May be, it is a mental thing,” said Waugh.
Waugh, here in Monte Carlo as a long-serving brand ambassador of the Laureus Academy, said the upcoming four-Test series that starts in Pune on February 23, will be seriously contested and India won’t run away with as they have done in the recent past against England and New Zealand.
Waugh said the contest will be between India’s bowling and Australia’s top-order batting. He singled out Ravichandran Ashwin for special mention and said Australia needed to play him well.
“Ashwin has done some amazing things and he has been the Don Bradman of bowling. Plus, he has been a handy batsman.”
India’s well-settled look was a great plus, said Waugh.
“This new team India can achieve anything and Virat Kohli’s leadership has been contagious. India will be hard to beat in India and that has been proved in the last couple of years,” said Waugh.
Waugh said the first Test “will be key” and Australia needed to take stock of the series before the third and fourth Tests came up in Ranchi and Dharamsala, respectively.
“We have a few surprises in the team, but it will be the senior players who have to take the responsibility, first up,” said Waugh.
David Warner will be critical to Australia’s prospects, said Waugh. “For Australia to win or compete in India, Warner has to score a lot of runs.”