Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes the quick bowlers will have a big role to play in the upcoming four-match Test series against India despite the sub-continent being considered a traditional spin bowling haven. He also put the onus on the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood to rise and shine if Australia are to beat this 19-match unbeaten side led by Virat Kohli which has gone six series without a defeat.
“Australia is predicting that spin is going to play a huge role. But I still think the quicks have a big role to play as well,” Clarke said on a Facebook live chat and was quoted by cricket.com.au. “Starc and Hazlewood will need to take a lot of wickets to help Australia win this series. Natural swing with the brand new ball, and especially reserve swing, is going to be really important to the Australian team. Australia is going to need everybody to really perform if they want to beat India in their own backyard,” added Clarke. India come into the Australia series having whitewashed New Zealand 3-0, England 4-0 in a five-match series and beaten Bangladesh in the one-off Test on Monday.
Clarke cautioned Steve Smith and the rest of the Australia squad that they can be “hopeful” of a victory but if not “worst case, they have to compete with this India team”.
“India on the other hand will want to dominate, they will want to continue to show how good they are in their own backyard,” Clarke said. “Australia has beaten India at home, now India will want to make sure their dominance in their own backyard stays there.”
The last time Australia beat India in the sub-continent was in 2004 when they had won the four-match series 2-1.
Clarke stressed on the need for patience as far as the up and coming players are concerned. He also said the tour of India could be an experience for these players on adapting to new and challenging conditions.
“It’s hard to expect players to walk straight onto the big stage and perform, especially in conditions that are different to what you’re accustomed to,” Clarke said.
“I think this Australia team is talented (but) we need to give these players some time to play around the world in different countries, learn, adapt, improve, get better, to see how talented they are.
“As selectors, all they can really do is pick who they feel are the best players and then give them the opportunity, and I think that’s what they’ve done.
“The selectors have gone with a core group of players they feel are the best in the Australian system, and now they’ve got to have the courage to stick with them and give them a chance.
“This series is going to be a really good eye opener for the players that have never played Test cricket in India, but also for their understanding of how you do face different conditions all around the world,” he concluded.