'Rohit, Kohli, Pujara's main task will be to...': Chappell outlines India's 'Big Three' challenge against Australia
Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell opined that batting icons Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Cheteshwar Pujara will have to establish 'mental superiority' over one of Australia's finest bowlers in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Rallying behind the Baggy Greens ahead of the high-profile Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023 between Australia and hosts India, former Australian skipper Ian Chappell strongly believes that the visitors will fancy their chances of outplaying the mighty Indian side in their backyard. Despite missing the services of ex-skipper Virat Kohli, an injury-ridden Indian side starring Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara had outclassed Australia in the Test series decider at The Gabba to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy during the 2020-2021 season.
With Australia gearing up for one of its biggest overseas challenges in the second edition of the ICC World Test Championship, Chappell feels that India will have an edge over the visitors if the hosts can keep Steve Smith and Nathon Lyon quiet in the Test series.
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Superstar Smith is the only current Australian in the squad to average more than 30 against the Rohit Sharma-led side in India. Lyon, who has played 7 Test matches in India, averages 30.58 against the Asian giants. The veteran Australian spinner has taken 34 wickets in India.
"One of the main tasks for Indian players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara will be to establish mental superiority over Lyon. If Australia can't rely on Lyon claiming regular wickets at an acceptable rate, their bowling will then depend greatly on the ‘big three’," Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNCricinfo.
Chappell also opined that the Rohit-led side is powerful and 'almost impossible' to beat at home. Runners-up in the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship, India last lost a series at home against England (2-1) back in 2012. “The main task for India's bowlers will be to find a way to keep the heavy-scoring Smith quiet. If India are able to limit Smith and Lyon's success they will be on the way to winning matches,” Chappell added.
Australia will play four Tests against hosts India in the 2023 edition of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The series opener will be contested at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur on February 9. Rohit-led Team India will also play a three-match One Day International (ODI) series against Australia in the World Cup year.