Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has weighed in his opinions about the upcoming and widely-anticipated series between Australia and India.
While talking to PTI, Akhtar said that while surely India had the firepower to win again but will struggle if their middle-order is not amongst the runs.
“In my opinion, India have the ability to win again. But if their middle order doesn’t perform, I see them struggling. People will be watching this series with great interest including myself,” Akhtar said.
India had defeated Australia 2-1 during their last tour in 2018-19 but it must be noted that their star players, Steve Smith and David Warner, were not playing that series – serving an year-long ban for the infamous ball tampering incident.
In what may come as a huge advantage to the Aussies, Indian skipper Virat Kohli will be returning home after the first Test at Adelaide for the birth of his first child with actress wife Anushka Sharma.
Thus, in the absence of Kohli, the Indian middle-order will be a shadow of itself from the last time. Additional responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Cheteshwar Pujara, who was India’s top-scorer last time with 571 runs.
Speaking about adjusting to the pitches in Australia, which are starkly different from what we see in the subcontinent, Akhtar remarked that it takes a while to manage the forward trigger movements – the batsmen of the subcontinent regions being prone to play on the front-foot as the ball remains low.
“It takes two-three innings to control that forward trigger movement in foreign conditions. You can’t drive on the up and have to play close to the body,” said Akhtar, considered amongst the fastest bowlers of all time.
India is slated to play three ODI’s, three T20I’s and four Tests down under and would look to repeat their heroics from their last tour. The tour begins with the ODI series, commencing on November 27.