Ahead of the Test series, former South African cricketer Ian Chappel predicted that the hosts Australia will emerge winners against India, who are ‘missing’ something.
“I am going to pick Australia, but don’t ask me why I am picking them. I think the only reasonable reason I can give is that I was disappointed the way India played in England and I thought they should have won that series,” Chappell said in an interview to ESPNcricinfo. “Certainly, on talent, they should beat this Australian side, but there might just be something missing.”
Praising the hosts for their attack under Australian conditions, Chappell added, “The other thing is the Australian attack. It is a very good one. It is proven under Australian conditions and the Indian attack is not proven under Australian conditions. So it is pretty flimsy evidence but I am going to pick Australia.”
Chappell is looking forward to the competition between the Australian pacers and Indian captain Virat Kohli. “I’m particularly looking forward to the competition between Australia’s pace bowlers and Virat Kohli. That should be a great contest. Last time he was here, Kohli played really well,” he said. “They got the ball to move around. I’m not sure they will get the same kind of assistance in Australian conditions, so I’m interested to see how they bowl, and I think those two things could tell a big story in the series.”
Ravi Shastri’s recent comments on the current squad being India’s best travelling team in 15 years had come under criticism after their recent performances. Chappell, however, agrees with the Indian coach and said, “I think it is one of the better teams to come from India, and certainly, as far as the fast bowlers are concerned, they are better suited to Australian conditions than any other pace-bowling attack I have seen come from India.”
“But while things look good on paper for India, that has got to be translated into form on the field,” he added.
Chappell said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s absence will hurt India. “He was the balance to the team. If you had Pandya there under Australian conditions, he could perform as your third seamer and you could play two spinners in places like Adelaide and Sydney, where I think it is very handy to have five bowlers,” he said. Pandya is out nursing a back injury.