India under Virat Kohli will continue to get better in Test cricket: Mike Hussey | cricket | Hindustan Times
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India under Virat Kohli will continue to get better in Test cricket: Mike Hussey

Mike Hussey does not want to read much into Indian cricket team’s overseas Test woes and says Virat Kohli’s side will get better

cricket Updated: Feb 15, 2018 09:19 IST
Devarchit Varma
Virat Kohli-led India were beaten 2-1 by South Africa in the recent three-match Test cricket series.
Virat Kohli-led India were beaten 2-1 by South Africa in the recent three-match Test cricket series.(AFP)

Former Australia cricketer Mike Hussey does not read much into world No 1 India’s Test series defeat in South Africa, as he cites travelling woes almost all teams grapple with when they are on the road.

India entered last month’s Freedom Series against South Africa as favourites, but were hammered in the first two Tests which dented their image as a team that could not live up to its reputation.

But Hussey does not want to read much into India’s overseas Test woes — having won only against West Indies and Sri Lanka in away series this decade — and says Virat Kohli’s team will get better.

“They (India) are a fantastic team. It is no disgrace losing to South Africa in South Africa; you see a lot of teams travelling and the away teams struggle. We saw England struggle in the Ashes, we see Australia struggle when they go to England, and we see Australia struggling in India and India when (they) come in Australia,” he said.

“Away teams find it hard. India have a fantastic team, very well led by Virat Kohli, and they will continue to get better,” added Hussey after the conclusion of the St Moritz Ice Cricket event.

While India have had several IPL stars such as Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya graduating to playing Test cricket, Australia are still unable to find talent which can deliver in the shortest format at the international level.

Admitting that Australia did not take T20 cricket as seriously as the others at the start, Hussey hoped for a better future. “I know it is something very important to the Australian team. We haven’t won the T20 trophy before, so we are keen to do well. We have some very good players coming through, hoping that we can be right up there to fight for it,” he said.

“I think we are definitely growing quickly in the T20 game. When T20 first started we were behind, we didn’t take it seriously. Other countries were probably a little bit ahead of us, but now I’m hoping (that) Australians are catching up,” he added.

“We have seen some outstanding performances throughout the Big Bash and now that there is a tri-series on, Australia have played some of those Big Bash players like D’Arcy Short. AJ (Andrew) Tye has been good; he has come into the ODI team. I would not be surprised if there is a bit of flow-on effect from here. I’d expect it to start happening a bit more in the future,” he added.

Win-win record

The fact that Australia have not lost a series in South Africa amuses Hussey, and hopes that Steve Smith’s men maintain that record. “It is going to be a great series, challenging for both teams, particularly for batsmen. I think the Australian batsmen are going to work really hard for their runs. It is a very good South African attack; the pitches are not as true as in Australia. I’m just looking forward to two very good teams going head-to-head,” he said.

“Amazingly, Australia have never lost a series to South Africa which I find bizarre. They have played against some great South African teams in the past. It is two teams playing similar brand of cricket, the conditions are good for attacking cricket. From my point of view, (I am) hoping Australia can do it again.”

Steve Smith impact

Asked how good the Australian batting could be without Smith, Hussey said, “I think there were some pretty good contributions from some other guys down the list (in the Ashes). I think, David Warner played pretty well, Shaun Marsh was outstanding, Mitch Marsh did very well to score a couple of hundreds.”

Hussey also welcomed Australia’s call to stick with Cameron Bancroft, who had ordinary returns in his debut Test series.

“Every team relies on their top two players. There is always going to be one player under pressure; that is how the game works. But he (Cameron Bancroft) is a very good player; they need to show their faith in him. He needs to score runs, it’s a big series for him (South Africa tour),” he said.

“The selectors are backing him. He would have learned so much playing in a big Ashes series. He can take those experiences further in his career,” he said.