|Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni on arrival at the team hotel, in Chennai, on Tuesday.
Team India’s conditioning camp in Bangalore concluded on Monday. The first Test against Australia
begins at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Friday. (PTI)
Chennai: Australia coach Mickey Arthur has said that they would be aggressive against the Indian spinners. Captain Michael Clarke echoed almost a similar view as he said that they wouldn’t be intimidated by the Indians.
Speaking during a media conference, on Tuesday, Clarke said that he has faith in his squad to respond to the India challenge.
The following are excerpts
Whether the Aussies are under pressure
We will certainly not be intimidated by the player whom we are playing against… We need to have success from every single delivery that we face. We have got a good squad, we have got plenty of good choices in spin bowling, batting and fielding. I do not think that we can look too much into how India are going to play and what conditions will suit them best. In Indian conditions, the ball spins as the pitch deteriorates and also has variations and bounce. I think the reverse swing is also very important. But, as I said we have the capability to do well in India.
If they have prepared well
We take a lot of confidence out of the Australian summer… We competed really well against South Africa, the No.1 Test team in world. We beat Sri Lanka in the recent series. The guys are full of confidence and are looking forward to the challenge.
His assessment of the Indians
India are a fantastic team… And better when they are playing at home. So the focus of the Australian team is not on the Indians, but completely on ourselves to make sure that we are as well prepared as we can be… To make sure that we do the right things and play the brand of cricket that we want to play.
The Sachin Tendulkar factor
Sachin got a hundred (in domestic cricket) most recently... So I think he is in really good form. He is a huge player for India and we have to just try and get him out as early as possible as he knows how to make a lot of runs and hundreds.
On Harbhajan Singh making a comeback to the Indian team
It is nice to see him back in the squad… He is a wonderful player and a very competitive cricketer. He loves the challenge of playing against any opposition, especially against Australia.We have to play well to make sure he does not have too much of an effect on the series.
On Harbhajan saying India could win 4-0
I am now focusing on the first Test and would like to take one match at a time.
The practice games exposing the Aussies’ weakness against spin
At the end of day, you have to get out to somebody… The more overs that somebody bowls, the more wickets he would take. The spinners bowled a lot of overs in the practice matches and so they got a lot of wickets. Moreover, the conditions would be different in the Test matches... But then that’s one aspect of our game which we would like to improve. Our boys have been training hard and the preparations have been fantastic.
Whether the experience in the practice matches would be of any help
Our guys have had some cricket under their belts ahead of the first Test and that’s a real positive. The fact that they faced a lot of spin bowling and reverse swing, and match practice is better than batting in the nets.
If it would be tough without Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey
No doubt, it’s a challenge… But I don’t think it’s any bigger because Ricky and Hussey are not here. It’s an opportunity for a couple of senior members of the team to stand up. Our boys have been training as hard as possibly they can. That is my main focus — to make sure that we are as well prepared as we can be.
David Warner’s fitness
Warner has improved and is improving every day. He faced bowlers at the net today. At this stage, I am very confident that he will play the first Test.
If Shane Watson would open the innings
We have not picked our team at this stage and I do not have the batting order at this stage. But Shane has been in good form. He played very well in both the innings in the three-day game. He will come back into our team, but I am not sure about what position he will be batting.
If he has studied England’s Test series win versus India
I do not think any team is invincible. It’s always tough to beat an opposition in their backyard. I think England played very well. I did see some footage of that series. But that will have no bearing on us and we will try and play the Australian way. We will not be looking to play like England.