| Steve Waugh during a press conference on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Brisbane: Australian skipper Steve Waugh urged his teammates to guard against complacency ahead of the first Test against India beginning on Thursday and said the Indian line-up had some world-class batsmen who could not be taken lightly.
Waugh also did not put it beyond the Indian batsmen to stand up against home bowling on a fast-paced wicket at the Gabba.
“They are world class batsmen and to me, world class batsmen can handle most situations,” Waugh said. “It is an important tour for Indian cricket and they see it as an opportunity to address the situation.”
The Test skipper, who is to retire after the last of the four Tests in Sydney (January 2-6), had words of praise for Indian bowlers as well.
“They also have bowlers who can swing a cricket ball and not many bowlers can do that. If you include the two spinners and Agarkar, they have five bowlers we know who could take wickets.”
Waugh did not think the team enjoyed a psychological advantage after the way it went after Indian left-arm pacers Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra in one-day Internationals in recent times.
“One-day cricket is rushed. Test cricket always gives you time to settle in. In a longer game, there are a lot of moments when you could come back and make up for it. In one-day cricket it is all over before you know.”
Waugh also disagreed with Shane Warne about short-pitched deliveries being used as a particular weapon against Sourav Ganguly and said he did not hold any grudge against the Indian skipper for what happened in the series in India in 2001.
“We have a general plan against their batsmen. There’s going to be short-stuff but I don’t think we would be overusing it.”
“I look forward to tomorrow when as Test captains, we would walk out together and that’s the way it should be. It is good for Test cricket, it’s a sign of solidarity. We would have a handshake, toss the coin and make a decision. I think we all make mistakes and both of us have learnt from the mistakes of the last series. I don’t carry any hard feeling from the 2001 series. It was a great series and Indians played great cricket to come back in the second Test. But I didn’t think about it 10 seconds after it was over.”
Waugh hinted he would field first if he won the toss on a green-top Gabba wicket. “There’s every chance we will bowl first if we win the toss. There’s also the psychological aspect of the game and you don’t ignore it.
“I think anyone who bats first would find the conditions testing but if you play well, you could set up the game. It really depends on whether you back yourself or not. But these wickets definitely are a lot different than they face in the sub-continent and it would test their batting styles.”
Waugh did not want to make too much of his impending retirement and said the task of playing the Test series against India was far more important.
“Test cricket is Test cricket even if it is my last series. There are more important issues at stake. From a personal perspective I just want to be sure I am playing the game. It’s a team sport and we’ve always said it is a team sport and team comes first.
“Good wishes and best of luck are not going to make runs. One has got to go and do it.”
Waugh admitted Sachin Tendulkar had always done well against Australia and they would still be looking to find a way to stop him in the series.
“He is a great player and as we know the great players can improvise. But he must have some weakness somewhere. I feel there would be a lot of pressure on him on this tour. He is a man they look up to and their batsmen feed off him.” (PTI)