With Australia not having their two key players Steve Smith and David Warner, batting great Sachin Tendulkar believes that it will be a “huge opportunity” for India to do something special Down Under. “I think we have a huge opportunity (in Australia). You (the reporter) correctly put it, the Australian team does not look the same Australian side that it used to be and with Smith and Warner not there, this is a great opportunity to go out and do something special,” Tendulkar said when asked about India’s chances in the upcoming tour.
India begin the tour with three T20s, which will be followed by a four-match Test series, the first beginning at Adelaide on December 6. Smith and Warner are currently serving a one-year ban while Cameron Bancroft has been suspended for nine months after their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in March.
The legendary player was speaking after the first India camp of the Tendulkar Middelsex Global Academy began at the D Y Patil Stadium here this morning. His childhood friend and former India batsman Vinod Kambli also mentored the kids. The two players have come on the cricket field together after many years.
Tendulkar also said he didn’t want to get into the debate of whether the ban on Smith and Warner should be reduced or not. Recently, the Australian Cricketers Association reiterated its call for the bans on Smith, Warner and Bancroft to be lifted in the light of the findings of the cultural reviews into Australian Cricket.
Asked about it and whether he would like to see the duo playing, Tendulkar said, “I would want to see good cricket for sure (in Australia). They both (Smith and Warner) are world-class players. So I don’t want to get into that debate whether the ban should be reduced or not. “But I would like to see them, but by no means I am saying or interfering in what their judgment has been. All I am saying in both are world class players.”
Tendulkar also praised rookie left-arm pacer, Khaleel Ahmed, saying from whatever he has seen the bowler has looked good. Ahmed, who had impressed in the Asia Cup, picked up a three-wicket haul in the fourth ODI against West Indies in Mumbai on Monday, when he ripped through their middle-order.
“Khaleel has been good, I have not watched too much of him, but I have seen, he was part of the Mumbai Indians, so I have seen a bit of Khaleel sometime ago and recently I saw him on television, again I am saying I have not seen at length, from whatever I have seen he looked good,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar said that the presence of Jasprit Bumrah was important and that India had good fast bowlers.
Asked about the Indian pace bowling attack, Tendulkar noted, “Good for us if there is competition is heating up, why not? Healthy competition is always welcome, that means we have got good fast bowlers, who are sitting on the bench also.
“Whenever bench strength is also strong, in case there are some injuries at the last moment, you know that someone sitting out is fully geared up and ready to go out and deliver. I think we are in that position at this stage.
“Yes there is always room for improvement. They want to get better each time they get out on the field. In particular, (Jasprit) Bumrah’s presence is going to be important,” he signed off.
After the DY Patil Stadium, the Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy camp will be held at the MIG Club in suburban Bandra from November 6-9 and later will be held at the The Bishops School in Pune from November 12-15 and 17-20.