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Test series: Greg Chappell bets on Australia

Rohit Sharma’s side is 'vulnerable' this time with injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah
Greg Chappell.
Greg Chappell.
File picture

PTI   |   Melbourne   |   Published 05.02.23, 04:00 AM

Batting great Greg Chappell believes Australia can win the upcoming high-profile four-match Test series in India as Rohit Sharma’s side is “vulnerable” this time with injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah.

While swashbuckling keeper-batter Pant is ruled out for most part of the year as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a horrific car crash, Indian pace ace Bumrah (back injury) does not figure in the Indian squad for the first two Tests, at least.


“Australia can win this series. India are more vulnerable at home than they have been for some time due to injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah. They will rely heavily on Virat Kohli,” Chappell wrote in an opinion piece for Sydney Morning Herald.

Premier spin-bowling all-rounder Jadeja, who recovered from a knee injury and made a comeback in the Ranji Trophy last month, is in the Indian squad for the Test series beginning in Nagpur on Thursday.

“Visiting teams are often fooled by a game that seems to be going nowhere but suddenly changes at a frenetic pace. The Indians are used to this, so Australia will need to adapt quickly with mind, bat and ball,” said the former India coach.

Finger spinner Ashton Agar, who is Australia’s only leftarm tweaker in the squad, should be preferred to partner Nathan Lyon on turning tracks, Chappell said.

“Should the pitches favour spin, which is more likely, I expect Ashton Agar to get the nod because finger spin is considered to be more accurate,” said the 74-year-old Chappell, who scored 7110 runs from 87 Tests at an impressive average of 53.86 between 1970 and 1984.

Recollecting his conversation with Erapalli Prasanna, he wrote the Indian legend would spin the ball hard, try to hit the batter on the pads often, get him thinking about the spinning ball, and then trap him on the crease with a straight one.

“Line, he (Prasanna) said, was optional, length was mandatory. He explained to me that he would lay the seam a bit flatter than for the traditional off-spinner and then impart a higher number of rotations on the ball that would make the ball drift like an off-spinner but once it landed on the leather, it would skid on with the arm giving the impression that it had gone ‘the other way’.

“As the leader of the spin attack, Nathan Lyon will need to take pages out of his book and show the way.”

Chappell, however, said that Australia will also have issues to iron out, including David Warner’s patchy form.

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