Pakistan pace great and former captain Wasim Akram has said Australia would be the favourite to win the much-anticipated Test series against India in December-January.
“I think Australia’s fast bowling is the best in the world. They have Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and other top-class bowlers. It will be a close contest but I would say Australia start off as favourites,” Akram told Cricket Baaz, a YouTube channel.
Akram said the competition would be intense owing to India’s strong fast-bowling line-up led by the lethal Jasprit Bumrah.
“Mohammad Shami, Bumrah, [Navdeep] Saini and others are good,” he said.
Akram pointed out that the Indian team of today has a lot of self-confidence. “The Indian team has got a lot of confidence. Their body language has changed. As a team they have confidence in themselves just like when we used to enter the ground in the 90s.
“Their body language shows they believe in themselves and the hard work they are putting in. I would say ‘Indian players thode badmash ho gaye hai’, [Indian players have become a little mischievous],” he said.
The Indian squad leaves for Australia immediately after the Indian Premier League ends in the UAE. India won the Test series 2-1 when it toured Australia in 2018 but it was against a side which was missing Steve Smith and David Warner because of the ball-tampering ban.
Akram said Smith and Warner would add a lot of strength to Australia’s batting but felt a lot will depend on the pitches. “When the Kookaburra ball gets old you have to think about how to keep runs down as the wickets are tough to come by,” he said.
Asked as to why India was producing more quality fast bowlers compared to Pakistan currently, Akram said it had a lot to do with increased focus on the T20 format in his country.
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