Australia is currently suffering a slump in their fortunes in all three formats. Their batting has been robbed of Steve Smith and David Warner who are banned for a year while their confidence is at an all-time low following the ball-tampering scandal. On top of that, their next encounter is against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team, who are high on confidence. However, Rohit Sharma, speaking to reporters during the practice session in Brisbane ahead of the first Twenty20 International on November 21, has said Australia’s tall pace bowlers pose a challenge in these conditions but India is ready to counter it.
“India has always played either at Perth (venue for second Test from December 14-18 this time) or Brisbane. These two conditions are challenging and the Australians have tall bowlers who exploit those conditions and use it to their advantage. Indian batsman are generally not that tall, so it is not easy for us but the guys are determined to change things this time, we are ready to accept the challenge. Most of the guys have come to Australia before. So they understand the conditions. As a batting unit, we are prepared,” Rohit stated.
The Australian pace battery for the Test series will feature the fast-bowling trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. Cummins is 1.92 meters tall while Starc and Hazlewood are 1.96 meters. In the last series played in Australia which was the Ashes in 2017/18 against England, the trio had a magnificent time as they used the conditions brilliantly. Cummins finished with 23 wickets, Starc with 22 and Hazlewood with 21 as Australia won the series 4-0.
Leave our mark in Australia
India has endured a tough time when it comes to overseas tours. In 2011/12, they were whitewashed 4-0 in both England and Australia. In 2014/15, they lost 1-0 to South Africa and New Zealand, 1-3 to England and 0-2 to Australia. However, Rohit said the team wants to do well Down Under and added in the last series that India put up a good fight which is not reflected in the score-line.
“Australia is one place where we want to leave our mark and do well as a unit. Last time we played a Test series here, although we lost two games and drew two, but I thought we played few close games, especially at Brisbane. We want to make it count this time around, there is a real good feeling inside the group. The motive is to seize all the moments and win. When you do well in Australia, you feel good as a team and thinking about the World Cup ahead, it can only give you confidence winning here,” Rohit said.
Rohit has enjoyed playing limited-overs cricket in Australia, averaging over 57 and in the last series in 2016, he blasted 171 in Perth. The right-hander said the good bounce and pace allows him to play his natural game.
“I had a good time playing white ball cricket here. In places like Brisbane and Perth, the good bounce allows me to play my game because I have grown up playing on cement pitches back home. I have done well in limited overs here but the challenge obviously is red-ball cricket which right now I am not thinking of, just want to do well in T20 format and take it forward where we go,” Rohit added.
India start their two-month tour of Australia with three Twenty20 Internationals, with the first match on November 21 at The Gabba. The T20Is will be followed by four Tests beginning in Adelaide on December 6 while the tour ends with three ODIs.