Australia in India 2012-13 February 12, 2013

Toughest test of my captaincy - Clarke

95

Haywire scheduling, key retirements and a stubbornly stiff right hamstring. Even before the vagaries of the subcontinent could be considered, Michael Clarke departed for India with the palpable sense that he is embarking upon the most difficult task of his captaincy so far.

Clarke was at pains to keep his selection options as open as possible before setting off to join the squad assembling in Chennai. The loss of Michael Hussey so soon after Ricky Ponting and the redefinition of Shane Watson have left the batting in particular with a whiff of the uncertain.

Add to this Clarke's hamstring trouble, which may yet rule him out of the full squad's only warm-up match, and there was every reason to believe the captain's pronouncement that he has not stared down a greater challenge than those to come over the four Tests.

For a reminder of the difficulty, Clarke needed only to look back at the 2010 visit, a tour hurriedly upgraded from ODIs to Tests by the BCCI and finishing in a 2-0 defeat for the team then captained by Ponting. Clarke cobbled 35 runs in four innings, his torpor summed up by a Bangalore stumping in which he did not realise his foot had dragged beyond the crease line.

"Touring India is as tough a challenge as I've had in my career," Clarke said in Sydney. "Every time I've been there on a Test tour it's been extremely difficult, hence the Australian team hasn't won that much over there. So it's a huge challenge, the players know that.

"That's partly why we're trying to prepare as well as we can by sending players early to get them used to conditions, to give ourselves the best chance. We know it's going to be tough, we know how good India is, but we look forward to it."

The Australian team's calendar for 2013 is so congested that this tour is the first to start before the home international program had finished. While Clarke is somewhere in the air between Sydney and Chennai, 11 members of his squad will be commencing a two-day warm-up match.

After Clarke has arrived, the coach Mickey Arthur will still be minding a severely weakened Twenty20 team in a match against the West Indies in Brisbane. Given the jarring adjustment from Australian climes and surfaces to those that may be found in India, it is hardly the ideal way to prepare. And preparation has always been one of Clarke's favourite buzzwords.

"What I've learned in the past is how important preparation is for my personal performance," Clarke said when asked about his dire 2010 tour. "I need to make sure I've done all my training to give myself the best chance of scoring runs.

"That's what I'm looking forward to over the next few days. Getting into the Indian conditions, batting on those wickets, facing a lot of reverse swing, a lot of spin bowling, and making sure when that first ball's bowled in that first Test that I'll be as well prepared as I was for this summer.

"I'd really like to play that three-dayer. I'll be advised by Alex [Kountouris] the physio once I land in India but at this stage my plan is to play that three-dayer. There is so much time I don't think there is any doubt I'll be fit for the first Test.

"In my mind cricket-wise I feel like I need that game to spend some time in the middle in Indian conditions both batting and bowling, but also with my captaincy as well because India is such a different place to Australia. But I'll listen to the expert and see what he has to say."

Among the players who have a headstart on Clarke by way of acclimatisation time are the allrounders Glenn Maxwell and Moises Henriques, plus the young batsman and sometime legspinner Steve Smith. One of the trio is likely to be chosen in the Tests as No. 6 or 7 batsman and fifth bowling option, now Watson can no longer provide it.

"It's very open, hence we've sent 17 players in three different stages to get over there as soon as possible to prepare and get used to conditions," Clarke said. "Runs and wickets will certainly play a big part in these practice games leading up to the first Test but for a lot of guys it's more about preparation and seeing conditions."

Those conditions will vary, as will the range of questions posed by an Indian side stung by recent defeats and intent on demonstrating, in the words of Harbhajan Singh, "how we play cricket here". Clarke's leadership, as both batsman and captain, is about to face its sternest examination yet.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • whoster on February 12, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Clarke deserves immense credit for both the runs he's scored, and the positive way he's led a side very much in transition. With respect to Sri Lanka and West Indies, away series in India and England will provide far sterner challenges. The batting line-up is alarmingly thin on experience and proven quality, and the one thing the Aussie selectors have to do is identify the players to take them forward, and stick with them through thick and thin. Australia need to realise their pool of talent is far more modest than it was a decade ago, and they're not going to magically find great players by rotating. With Ponting and (even more importantly) Hussey gone, Watson playing just as a batsman, and a starting line-up that'll have a lot of questions to answer - whoever they pick, they may need to accept that things will get worse before they get better.

  • Romanticstud on February 12, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Any tour of India is demanding in any event ... Especially for those used to the hard bouncy pitches of South Africa and Australia ... where the ball tends to hit the deck and take off ... To get that in the pitches in India requires a fast bowler to put more effort in ... The pitches tend to be more suited to turners and at the same time batsmen that can play the game ... with patience ... That is why Amla and Kallis have achieved on the Indian pitches ... Australia will have a rather untested line-up in India ... with no Ponting ... No Hussey ... but then hopefully with Watson slotting in in the middle of the inninngs may give Australia some stability in the middle ... But then India are without the Wall and VVS ... So their line-up too is far from stable at England showed ... I expect a hard-fought battle between the Indians with the pace of Australia and Australia with the spin of India ... Maybe Nathan can show his true colours ... like Swann and Panesar ...

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Michael is spot on and his starting line up will grace the field in the first test. It may not end that way through the series. Cowan is the key. He must and will play in the first test, but 2 failures will see his demise with Watson returning to opening. Having said that, Cowan is really suited to English conditions and must open the innings for at least 2 tests in England. Secondly, Khawaja, is also in the hot seat. No doubt very comfortable in seam conditions, but not sure with a spin friendly environment.

  • IndianSRTfan on February 12, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    I'm a true Indian fan but I have always adored Michael Clarke's batting. He's one of those fluent batsmen who are easy on the eye and graceful in their strokeplay. As a captain I think he's done a great job with a team in transition Indian tour will be tough but I think India's spinners look very weak right now. Bt as article suggests the Indian side really has their back to the wall after the 2-1 defeat at home against England. There's enough talent in Indian batting dept and if they click absence of a quality spinner like Swann will cost Aussies You need good spinners and batsmen who can play spin properly to succeed here. Right now Clarke's the best batsman of the spin bowling in this Aussie side. So I hope he stays fit throughout the series and bats well because I think his wicket will affect the outcome of any match in a major way. One word for Aussie schedule of 2013, Horrific. Injuries are inevitable with this kind of workload. GL to both teams Looking fwd to a great series.

  • WonkyBail on February 15, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    I was thinking Aus might struggle but I have had a re-think as GSinge7 has predicted India 4-0 (who was expecting that); as he as poor a predictor as Paul the Octopus was Nostradamus like I have to go for the Aussie win (2-1).

  • on February 14, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Clarke comments are safe and secure. I think it must be easier for them but not tougher. They beat WI 5-0 and in good form. But India lost tests with England. We Indians feel, Australia having better bowling attack and also better fielding side. Indians new faces must adjust before giving tough competition. Though Indian batting looks solid they are inexperienced but having good cricket averages for most of the batsmen. Any time India vs Australia is best cricket to watch. We are ready for the game. Sorry guys you kangaroos do not have TV rights this time to enjoy one of the best sides play.

  • AKS286 on February 14, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    about 2 players first clarke- he will do nothing while batting on number 5 with tailenders. secondly Bhuvaneswar kumar he only strike with new ball. MSD hided him on pak series with old ball, no one knows how he bowl with old ball no yorkers, bouncers we have seen. after 5 overs of B.Kumar MSD is on the stumps. bowling 5 days with no pace, no yorker and bouncer with old ball IMO B.Kumar is not an ideal choice. Oz need S.Marsh & Haddin in india. Cowan, Hughes, S.marsh, clarke, Voges, haddin, watson, MJ, Pattinsn, siddle, Beer/Starc.

  • JoieDeVivre on February 14, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I'm hoping India wins the series but the reality is Australia have an excellent chance of repeating the 2004 series win and that is simply because India is going through one of the most toughest phases in it's history. While the Australian top order looks a bit unsettled the biggest strengths of this Aussie line up are their fast bowlers, lower order batsmen and ever impressive skipper Michael Clarke. Fair to say Australia start as favorites to win the series despite being the guests. For India to make any impression in this series batsmen have to find form, R Ashwin needs to bowl with truck loads of patience something that was clearly missing in the series against England and finally the selectors and MS Dhoni have to be a bit bold in their selection. The series has all the qualities of being an excellent one but like I mentioned Australia clearly start as favorites and Michael Clarke can take a lot from this series specially with back to back Ashes this year.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 14, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Agree with @mzm149 - Although I would give 2-1 in favor of Australia. Kohli, Tendulkar and Sehwag will be exposed once again. Pujara will score a few runs here and there. Bhuvaneshwar performs once in a while even when conditions support him. Ishant Sharma and Dinda are quite useless bowlers. Inning defeats are awaiting India and double centuries are awaiting Clarke. Things could get better for India if our Selectors do their job and select in-form players like Jaffer, Rayudu, Rasool, Ahmed, etc. but they prefer washed out players like Tendulkar, Sehwag, Ishant and Bhajji

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 14, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Clarke is right in saying this will be a tough test of his captaincy, a tour of India is always demanding. Firstly, look at the scheduling-the oz players fresh off the plane will go headlong into the test, could have done with one more practice match. I predict a close series 2-1 to Australia. India's stocks have plummetted dramatically, the pace bowling is a joke with Ishant becoming an average county trundley(think of the missed potential here) - B kuimar is a new comer-predominantly swing bowler who due to lack of pace would struggle to swing in tests, the spinners are pathetic, the batting slightly better, the fielding-the usual. all in all, good chance for Aus to walk away with the series and test out their young pace quartert

  • whoster on February 12, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Clarke deserves immense credit for both the runs he's scored, and the positive way he's led a side very much in transition. With respect to Sri Lanka and West Indies, away series in India and England will provide far sterner challenges. The batting line-up is alarmingly thin on experience and proven quality, and the one thing the Aussie selectors have to do is identify the players to take them forward, and stick with them through thick and thin. Australia need to realise their pool of talent is far more modest than it was a decade ago, and they're not going to magically find great players by rotating. With Ponting and (even more importantly) Hussey gone, Watson playing just as a batsman, and a starting line-up that'll have a lot of questions to answer - whoever they pick, they may need to accept that things will get worse before they get better.

  • Romanticstud on February 12, 2013, 6:54 GMT

    Any tour of India is demanding in any event ... Especially for those used to the hard bouncy pitches of South Africa and Australia ... where the ball tends to hit the deck and take off ... To get that in the pitches in India requires a fast bowler to put more effort in ... The pitches tend to be more suited to turners and at the same time batsmen that can play the game ... with patience ... That is why Amla and Kallis have achieved on the Indian pitches ... Australia will have a rather untested line-up in India ... with no Ponting ... No Hussey ... but then hopefully with Watson slotting in in the middle of the inninngs may give Australia some stability in the middle ... But then India are without the Wall and VVS ... So their line-up too is far from stable at England showed ... I expect a hard-fought battle between the Indians with the pace of Australia and Australia with the spin of India ... Maybe Nathan can show his true colours ... like Swann and Panesar ...

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    Michael is spot on and his starting line up will grace the field in the first test. It may not end that way through the series. Cowan is the key. He must and will play in the first test, but 2 failures will see his demise with Watson returning to opening. Having said that, Cowan is really suited to English conditions and must open the innings for at least 2 tests in England. Secondly, Khawaja, is also in the hot seat. No doubt very comfortable in seam conditions, but not sure with a spin friendly environment.

  • IndianSRTfan on February 12, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    I'm a true Indian fan but I have always adored Michael Clarke's batting. He's one of those fluent batsmen who are easy on the eye and graceful in their strokeplay. As a captain I think he's done a great job with a team in transition Indian tour will be tough but I think India's spinners look very weak right now. Bt as article suggests the Indian side really has their back to the wall after the 2-1 defeat at home against England. There's enough talent in Indian batting dept and if they click absence of a quality spinner like Swann will cost Aussies You need good spinners and batsmen who can play spin properly to succeed here. Right now Clarke's the best batsman of the spin bowling in this Aussie side. So I hope he stays fit throughout the series and bats well because I think his wicket will affect the outcome of any match in a major way. One word for Aussie schedule of 2013, Horrific. Injuries are inevitable with this kind of workload. GL to both teams Looking fwd to a great series.

  • WonkyBail on February 15, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    I was thinking Aus might struggle but I have had a re-think as GSinge7 has predicted India 4-0 (who was expecting that); as he as poor a predictor as Paul the Octopus was Nostradamus like I have to go for the Aussie win (2-1).

  • on February 14, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Clarke comments are safe and secure. I think it must be easier for them but not tougher. They beat WI 5-0 and in good form. But India lost tests with England. We Indians feel, Australia having better bowling attack and also better fielding side. Indians new faces must adjust before giving tough competition. Though Indian batting looks solid they are inexperienced but having good cricket averages for most of the batsmen. Any time India vs Australia is best cricket to watch. We are ready for the game. Sorry guys you kangaroos do not have TV rights this time to enjoy one of the best sides play.

  • AKS286 on February 14, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    about 2 players first clarke- he will do nothing while batting on number 5 with tailenders. secondly Bhuvaneswar kumar he only strike with new ball. MSD hided him on pak series with old ball, no one knows how he bowl with old ball no yorkers, bouncers we have seen. after 5 overs of B.Kumar MSD is on the stumps. bowling 5 days with no pace, no yorker and bouncer with old ball IMO B.Kumar is not an ideal choice. Oz need S.Marsh & Haddin in india. Cowan, Hughes, S.marsh, clarke, Voges, haddin, watson, MJ, Pattinsn, siddle, Beer/Starc.

  • JoieDeVivre on February 14, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    As an Indian fan, I'm hoping India wins the series but the reality is Australia have an excellent chance of repeating the 2004 series win and that is simply because India is going through one of the most toughest phases in it's history. While the Australian top order looks a bit unsettled the biggest strengths of this Aussie line up are their fast bowlers, lower order batsmen and ever impressive skipper Michael Clarke. Fair to say Australia start as favorites to win the series despite being the guests. For India to make any impression in this series batsmen have to find form, R Ashwin needs to bowl with truck loads of patience something that was clearly missing in the series against England and finally the selectors and MS Dhoni have to be a bit bold in their selection. The series has all the qualities of being an excellent one but like I mentioned Australia clearly start as favorites and Michael Clarke can take a lot from this series specially with back to back Ashes this year.

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 14, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Agree with @mzm149 - Although I would give 2-1 in favor of Australia. Kohli, Tendulkar and Sehwag will be exposed once again. Pujara will score a few runs here and there. Bhuvaneshwar performs once in a while even when conditions support him. Ishant Sharma and Dinda are quite useless bowlers. Inning defeats are awaiting India and double centuries are awaiting Clarke. Things could get better for India if our Selectors do their job and select in-form players like Jaffer, Rayudu, Rasool, Ahmed, etc. but they prefer washed out players like Tendulkar, Sehwag, Ishant and Bhajji

  • IndianInnerEdge on February 14, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    Clarke is right in saying this will be a tough test of his captaincy, a tour of India is always demanding. Firstly, look at the scheduling-the oz players fresh off the plane will go headlong into the test, could have done with one more practice match. I predict a close series 2-1 to Australia. India's stocks have plummetted dramatically, the pace bowling is a joke with Ishant becoming an average county trundley(think of the missed potential here) - B kuimar is a new comer-predominantly swing bowler who due to lack of pace would struggle to swing in tests, the spinners are pathetic, the batting slightly better, the fielding-the usual. all in all, good chance for Aus to walk away with the series and test out their young pace quartert

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 14, 2013, 0:04 GMT

    Pup, you need not worry much about this Indian team. Our selectors already gave you 2 free wickets in the form of Sehwag and Tendulkar. About our bowling, the less said the better - we have a not so bright Ishant, a high jumper who I frankly believe is playing the wrong sport, and an over bright Ashwin who thinks bowling variations is more important than getting wickets.

  • on February 13, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    Michael Clarke:Sachin Tendulkar's Sign Of Greatness Is His Longevity!!

  • RK.Chandru on February 13, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Chepauk pitch has changed a lot over the years and is unpredictable. The home team (TN) couldn't have any home advantage last season and hence, did very poor in the Ranji. India too of late, hasn't done well. The pitch sure is not aiding spinners nowadays. 3 pacers plus Ojha and Jadeja turning his arm around will be a good option. I doubt if Ashwin is really working on his bowling now and if he's desperate to do well as a bowler; if we got the alarm bells (poor performance as a bowler of late) and is finding ways to retain his place. Right now his confidence must be very low and should have hit the nadir.

  • AKS286 on February 13, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Indians are favourite. Oz batting is inexperienced, incosistance, and no one is capable to score big like cook does. opening is problem, middle order is having problem, single clarke at no 5 can do nothing with tailenders, the whole wade is a problem like samit & dernbach done in odis. some players are extremely overrated like khwaja, maxwell, wade, lyon, doherty, warner. Oz will miss S.Marsh, BEER & haddin.

  • mzm149 on February 13, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    4-0 in favor of Australia. Kohli, Tendulkar and Sehwag will be exposed once again. Pujara will score a few runs here and there. Bhuvaneshwar performs once in a while even when conditions support him. India will not prepare pitches that support pace bowling because Pattinson, Starc, Johnson and Siddle would be lethal enough to contain them under 100 runs. Ishant Sharma and Dinda are quite useless bowlers. Inning defeats are awaiting India and double centuries are awaiting Clarke.

  • AKS286 on February 13, 2013, 12:41 GMT

    everyone talk lots about spinners. spinners are crucial spinners wil do this & that.- stop that. SA won in india with the help of AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE (steyn, morkel, phil, tsotsobe, de lange). ENG won with the help of panesar, swann & anderson.Oz is having school boys spinners so forget winning with the ENG style. now a little bit good pace attact so they must go for SA style. So go with 4 pacers pattinson, bird, MJ, siddle.

  • Farce-Follower on February 13, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas : Good to see you man. Clarke is special, so is Cook. Was fortunate to see Clarke's debut in Bangalore. A century for keeps. Clarke is fearless and that's the way he captains too. Cook is more in the classical mould. But one destined to set most English batting records.

  • Meety on February 13, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    @Shan156 on (February 12, 2013, 21:27 GMT) "... what really matters is the urn and we beat you comfortably both home and away the last time we met..." - you really must be a soccer fan or something for 2-1 victory to be considered a comfortable win! LOL! Get your boasting in now, as you will probably change your name to Front Foot Lurch or something once Oz reclaim the Ashes.

  • ConradFitzroy on February 13, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    While the challenges are obvious for the Australians, this opens up some exciting prospects. These are the types of scenarios where new batsman and new bowlers either make name for themselves as a genuine, permanent Aussie player or get over-awed and out-played and end up needing to rebuild some aspect of their cricket. This is gonna make for some very exciting viewing!! Clarke needs to be at his best, both tactically and physically and I think it's high time that Shane Watson starting scoring some serious runs and shouldering some of the leadership burden in this young Aussie team. Hope Cowan does well too.

  • skkh on February 13, 2013, 2:13 GMT

    Now even our scribes refer to Maxwell as "all-rounder" which is a joke. This bloke if anything is a slogger. He is neither a batsman nor a bowler. He can be of some value in the twenty20 format. His selection in the test squad reflects on how bare our cupboard is. His selection shows how desperate we are and seem to be grabbing at straws. Our batting will be very mediocre and would probably be our embarrassment given the fact that none play spin with any authority except for Clarke.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 13, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    I don't understand why people want to argue between Cook and Clarke. Clarke is in a totally different league as a batsman and as a Captain. Cook is good or very good but Clarke is exceptional.

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    Paul Rampley: "A guy like Khawaja to me needs to feel like he is a long term member of the team, not just someone that gets 1 game every once in a while to prove his ability as he is the real deal when it comes to test cricket."

    The only way to become a long term member is by performing its pretty simple. He is not the first bloke to be dropped for not taking his chances. Are you intimating that Khawaja is a very soft personality that can only perform with a guarantee that he will remain even if he fails?

  • Vilander on February 12, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    Its pretty poignant to see these two teams come across each other as weak mid carders after their respective glory days and marque series' against each other over the years. Both the teams need to find some spinners, and top order bats. Aus has pacemen india has some rookies in that department. Because of Sachin and Pujara indian batting feels a bit stronger than Aus. It will be an evenly fought series, Indian fans would be a bit more acomodating since their dominant team is no more.

  • Shan156 on February 12, 2013, 21:27 GMT

    I hope Clarke stays fit for the entire tour. Otherwise, the Aussie fans will hide behind this excuse. Mitty/Shaggy076, that record will read 7 losses after this series. Can't wait for India to hammer your over-rated team. Cook had a great series against India. What if Clarke fails? Would you ignore it and still hide behind Clarke's better record against SA? Yeah, yeah, since our last Ashes encounter, you have a better test record. But, what really matters is the urn and we beat you comfortably both home and away the last time we met. Already forgotten those 3 heavy innings defeated that we handed you in Aus? lol. It wasn't that long ago.

  • hhillbumper on February 12, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    it will be interesting to see how the series goes.Two weak teams playing each other should be interesting.one thing is that neither team has any decent spinners

  • Shan156 on February 12, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    People tend to think that since England beat India in India, it is something that any team can do. People will realize it after this series. England won because they had two quality spinners backed by a good seamer in Jimmy and an obdurate Cook and a flamboyant KP backed by Prior. Even with an Indian team in transition, it is mighty hard to win in India when you don't have a quality spinner. The Aussies, unfortunately for them, don't have any. They may have good pacemen but they are not in the class of Steyn/Marshall/Waqar/Wasim and will be redundant after the ball goes soft. I predict SRT to have a great series.

  • Shan156 on February 12, 2013, 20:26 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, lol at Nathan Lyon banging it short. Banging it short won't work in India because the tracks usually don't suit that kind of bowling. The ball rarely bounces above knee height, lol. The Indian batsman would feast on that kind of bowling.

    Go India, soften the Aussies up before they visit England. Hope Clarke repeats his performance in his last tour to India in 2010-2011.

  • Nampally on February 12, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    I think Clarke is bering too optimistic about his recovery time from Hamstring strain. First test is hardly 10 days away & Clarke says that there is plenty of time to be fit. Recovery from hamstring injuries are slow & long, unless Clarke's strain is very minor. Anyway good luck to him in full recovery. As for the rest Warner had a broken finger & Watson recurring calf injury. Indian ground conditions are very hard on legs. So the fast bowlers generally end up with back & leg injuries. In the past the Aussie seamers had plenty of such injuries. So Clarke's main task is to stay injury free. I am sure Clarke will have at least Lyon as his key spinner in addition to the seamers. India does not have its best spinners in the squad such as Nadeem & Rassol nor its top seamers. Although Aussie batting is not proven, weak Indian bowling will give it ample chance to get its teeth in. An "out of form" Harbhajan is included mainly to complete his 100 Tests-a regular bowler has to give way for him.

  • MadhavY on February 12, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    This series is going to be so wonderful. every one is talking about preparations and team combinations. No rubbish talk about pitches not offering help for fast bowlers and blah blah. people are starting to accept the way Indian pitches behave and considering that challenging and trying to adopt and do well, that's the way sport should be played. looking for a closely contested series.

  • xylo on February 12, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    I do not think Clarke has to worry too much. Leave aside the BCCI, the Indian team is known to be accommodating of visitors. The current side is a side in transition with a known passenger in Sachin Tendulkar. So, Clarke has to worry about a side that has 10 players, of which 2 would be "unlucky" pace bowlers, and 2 spinners, against whom he would do very well. His bowlers might not be awesome, but the Indian batting lineup is not awesome either, except maybe for Pujara and Ashwin. Both captains are extremely shrewd though, so we might be in for a surprise or two - say Warner blasting a century, or Tendulkar making a half century. Given all these, I would say that both teams are on an even keel and that this series could go either way.

  • on February 12, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    I'll certainly be rooting for the Aussies, but without any spinners of the quality of either Swann or Monty, I fear they'll come unstuck on the rank turners the dastardly Srinivasan & his henchman Dhoni have no doubt already ordered. The Aussies are kidding themselves if they believe any of the pitches will offer *any* swing or seam movement to their pace battery, while Lyon & Doherty, I'm afraid, simply aren't in the same league as Ojha, Bhajji or even Ashwin, disappointing though his performances against England were. India, I feel, missed a trick by selecting Dinda, their very own version of Jade Dernbach, ahead of Shami Ahmed, but I expect Bhuvi Kumar to surprise a few people with his deceptive changes of pace. Either 2-1 or 3-1 to India, I'd say.

  • InnocentGuy on February 12, 2013, 18:14 GMT

    I don't think the Aussies will struggle that much. What I like about them is that they acknowledge (right or wrong), that the tour to India will be tough, no matter how strong or weak a team they fly in. Identifying and acknowledging a difficult series is the first step towards competing well in it. Contrast that with what we did - over-confidence after winning an ODI-WC in home conditions. And we were rightly walloped. But we still don't learn. Almost all Aussie players have played quite a bit in India recently. I don't think they will find it too hard to adjust to these conditions. I expect the Aussies to win the series. And BCCI and the Indian team to continue living in denial and start preparation for the upcoming IPL. What a shame!

  • on February 12, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    This is d 1st time I m seeing an Australian team touring here in a negative frame of mind. From their team to captain to media, n dis article says it all. Bt wait may b dis is the game plan for ausie dis time around. Michele clerk is a very good leader who believes in leading from the front, his form wl b crucial and defining in the outcome of the result of this series, bt for me it's how he handles his pacers in this conditions. And this time around as well its Australian pace attack vs Indian Batting as its always been. Clerk hit a ton in his debut test here in india n he wl b hoping that he can repeat that performance once again bt dis time as a leader. I hope Indians hv also some plans for Australian batsmen as well, bt d most important thing is that India sld nt get complacent as they wer against English, cus they can't afford to do dat 2 times in a row in test series even in india. I hope v cn see some deeply contested Test matches in coming month n India come winners.

  • Selassie-I on February 12, 2013, 17:08 GMT

    Clark, already damaged before a tour of India, thena full IPL to play. If he's out for the tour of england, the only chance the Aussies have of drawing a few games has gone!

    Hoping for india to win this one, you can do it boys!!

  • ozziespirit on February 12, 2013, 15:20 GMT

    Clarke's been great at 5 but I feel we're depending too much on him at the moment. Come the test series he should move up to 4. Australian fans like myself want to see a good performance from the top order. If Warner and co fall early, we'll be relying on the middle order to get us out of trouble, without Hussey that job will be too tough. Could be a tight series.

  • realfan on February 12, 2013, 14:44 GMT

    besides good contest of cricket i really hope good contest in comments section...unlike past 3 months where all so called cricket fans who jumps in between when india losses and got lost when india wins... i dont even see them in coments section of THEIR country games..... so i would like not to see them in this series.... if they come in, if the comment is right on the context of that particular game , then that is welcomed.....

  • GBSA on February 12, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    Abdur, I agree 100 %. Clarky is yet to stumble on tough tour, SA toured his home patch and he failed, he had his moments and failed to close in, thereafter the prof outfit of SA took over. AUS tour against a very mediocre Indian side, AT THE MOMENT, AUS are totally underdone, with a few old legends out of the picture. good luck to Clarky. His true test will come in the ashes and when he plants his hoof on SA soil for a series

  • Sunil_Batra on February 12, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    Maxwell got 0 today but i wouldn't use that against him. . Like I said, give someone like Maxwell enough chances statistically they're bound to take one. He is a good T20 player but i wouldn't pick him for tests yet. Khawaja should get the numbe 6 spot and if really want an allrounder from the available squad it should be henriques. Khawaja will do well in India as he is no stranger to spin-friendly wickets, having done his time as a first-class player on the SCG when its "dry and barren pitches" resembled many subcontinental pitches.Out of necessity, he played the sweep shot, a stroke that Ed Cowan and Phillip Hughes have been practising for the series This is one of the reasons he averages over 50 at the SCG. And he plays county in Derby, which also threw up some challenges against spin and in his short time there this season he got 537 runs at 50, he is ready for India. Also i can't wait to see Watto and Cowan bat togethre in the second warm up game.

  • Dhanvanth on February 12, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Australia have many problems in this tour: no hussy no punter! Watto cant bowl, Clarke cant bowl! Spin strength s not good! Wish they had it all:):( i m an ardent Australian well wisher

  • 2nd_Slip on February 12, 2013, 12:35 GMT

    I just don't understand why the cricket world is constatntly manipulated by Clarke's bravado and mistake if for good captaincy. Like really!! Ever since the Ausies were humiliated by the Poms in their on backyard a couple of years ago there is no reputation to uphold and now Clarke just goes for broke and throws caution to the wind without appliying his mind to whatever he does on the field(which played a part in them not winning atlest one of the resent tests against the #1 test side, South Africa).As for this series, I think the Aussies will easilly walk away with it even with a mediocore spinner like Lyon they have a better fast bowling attack plus India is playing poor cricket at the moment .

  • Dhanvanth on February 12, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    I think Australia ll be playing the most no. of Test matches this year(14)!

  • bumsonseats on February 12, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    the aussies should take heart as the same informed indian posters on here said the same,before england toured. i expect it to be very close perhaps 2 - 2. with indias spinners getting the aussies out for 220 or so in most tests and the aussie pacers doing similar. so 3 and 4 day tests as the norm.but i dont feel the aussies will roll over. im looking forward to see what pitches are prepared, not heard the indian skipper saying what he wants so maybe he or the bcci have had silent words with groundsmen.but todays play in india against an aussie b side is a foretell for the future

  • Edwards_Anderson on February 12, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    We cant expect a Michael Hussey, with all that experience, is suddenly going to appear. This is a period of rebuilding. There are potential Husseys out there but they've got a couple of years to develop. We've got a talented bunch of kids such as Hughes, Warner, Khawaja,etc who are ready to step up and must be selected. But we cant expect consistent performances from this lot like Ponting, Hayden, M. Hussey, Clarke, the Waughs and Border at their prime, for a few years yet. That comes with experience. So give Khawaja the Indian series and i am sure he will excel there as he is too good not too. Maxwell is about 1 year from test standard as is Steve Smith. Henriques may be close as an all rounder, but if Watson bowls I wouldnt have two all rounders in the team…waste of a top batsman.Khawaja and Burns would be my next two in line. They've got long term proven shield performances, but give them time. I agree with Edward in that you pick your best 11 and go with them

  • Abdurrazaaq on February 12, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    I think that Clarke's statement "Toughest test of my captaincy" doesn't quite make any sense, since his biggest test came when the #1 ranked South Africa toured(and beat) Australia a few months ago, and mind you, he failed that test hopelessly.

  • Paul_Rampley on February 12, 2013, 12:15 GMT

    The instability is what is really hurting us atm. Almost everyone in the team is constantly playing for their spot instead of playing for the team (like they should be). That was a huge secret of our success over the years, we had a settled team that only ever got changed when injury occured. Obviously retirements happened which have broken up the stability (as it will to South Africa and England in time) but we need to figure out our best 11 quickly and stick to it as much as possible.A guy like Khawaja to me needs to feel like he is a long term member of the team, not just someone that gets 1 game every once in a while to prove his ability as he is the real deal when it comes to test cricket. Give him half the games(i.e 5) that Cowan has had in a row and you will have a solid test batsman. This current atmosphere creates enormous pressure on a player to constantly be thinking he only has one chance to show what he can do.

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2013, 12:00 GMT

    FFl - You mentioned we shouldt go to the comparison between Clarke and Cook. You talk about Clarkes captaincy so I have based the below stats on when Clarke took over the captaincy. Clarke career Av 52 (72 since taking over captain). Cook career Av 49 (50 in this period). You say he is letting his team down by hiding down in the middle order Tests 20, wins 11, losses 3 and draws 5. Not too much letting the team down. England in the same period 22 tests 10wins, 7 losses, 5 draws. Champions are made agaisnt the best teams ie SOuth Africa Clarke career Av 70 (93 as captain). Cook career av 40 (32 in this period). Anyway you look at it its advantage Clarke.

  • bumsonseats on February 12, 2013, 11:38 GMT

    why is it these days cricket seems to be shoehorning any space, with pointless odis that have no meaning. the aussies touring the uk last year and although hammered why come over. agree with meety a WIs series at the end of a oz summer, were going to india 2 weeks earlier would be of more worth than whats come been played at the moment.

  • Mitty2 on February 12, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    FFL, this is your worst. And that's saying something. Clarke's captaincy is universally acknowledged and his attacking style is undoubtedly commended. Ignore the plaudits he received from declaring behind in WI to acheive a result; in which we did, and the constant alertness with field placings and bowling changes which brings pressure and wickets.

    there is not a single doubt from any that michael is the world's best captain, unless the people's ignorance overrides logic (you). Smitch was completely disparaged for his defensive tactics that allowed us to reach 550 and 600, (how did your batting and bowling go against sa?), and of course, those runs were scored by the world's best batsmen by aggregate of runs.

    cook has played five more matches in 2012, and isnt even near clarke.

    just look at how well performed we are since the ashes with clarke's captaincy, three losses from twenty two games, all under clarke's captaincy. england aren't even in the same category with seven losses.

  • on February 12, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    Did u Remember this Australian side nearly defeated mighty africans last month and look at those batting line ups they were always been 40-3 or around there top order always collapsed but 2 mens clarke and hussey poundered africans series must be drawn 1-1 but the luck also glooms aroung so this time too clarke and watson score tons and tons Then I bet you India is going to loose this series too.

  • CrICkeeet on February 12, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    yah, Really Tough.... I wont b surprised if its a 0-0 draw series (evry match draw) :d

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Stone-Amir; Clarke has already tackled 2 of those tours you mentioned. With a win in Sri Lanka and draw in South Africa. So after doing so well there I can imagine this would be his toughest test as captain - more to do with not having Ponting or Hussey around him as well rather than a stragegic comment.

  • on February 12, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    Another idea. Why not send Australia A to India and let the guys in the first team relax for a few months before going to England for Ashes. Why flog players to death in a place like India? If Australia loses the series in India to nothing, so what? The important thing is that they front up to England in the home and away series and give their best.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on February 12, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    What captaincy would that be Clarkey? You HIDE down the order to protect yourself from the new ball whilst your historically rubbish top-order fails time and again and you don't have the courage to go and sort it out yourself. Shall I start a comparison with 'Mr 766'? Let's not go there shall we.

  • CandidIndian on February 12, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    Well it was tough to beat India in India because opposition struggled to take 20 wickets in these conditions, and whenever India got into trouble someone amongst senior lads like VVS or Rahul always showed the temperament to get India out of trouble,Tendulkar used to show his brilliance consistently,there was Kumble to put pressure on 4th and 5th day of the match,there was Zak to get important breakthroughs with his reverse swinging deliveries.While now scenario is completely different,Indian batting unit has been failing in tests from long time now,any world class bowling attack can be confident against this batting unit.Clarke and Aus team too have their problems but on current form they are better than this Indian test side.It would be a miracle if this Indian test side manages to beat Aussies in this series, miracles happen though,but for that Indian team needs to play fearless cricket.

  • RednWhiteArmy on February 12, 2013, 10:24 GMT

    I really hope Clarke stays fit for the whole series. Then there cant be any excuses when India win, although im sure they will whinge about something.

  • QingdaoXI on February 12, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    I personally think instead of part-timers Aussies should have called Shaun Marsh and George Bailey in the team, they would have been more useful and it would have also help you people to strenghten the squad for Ashes. From this squad playing XI should be Warner, Watson, Hughes, Clarke, Khawaja, Cowan, Wade, Starc, Pattinson, Bird, Lyon. I will like to open with watson becuase , he is better suited at this position on subcontinent wickets and Cowan @6 will give Australia oppurtunity to have a opener batsmen to play new ball after 80 overs. With Clarke, Khawaja and Cowan at number 4.5.6 gives Australia stabilty if there is fall of wik too. Siddle and Johnson cant do better than Broad and Bresnan on these pitches, so i will like to see young bowlers bowling there heart out it will defianelty put our Batsmen under pressure. As both team are in rebuilding phase series will be fighting and no one can predict the results, But rivalry will help to built the carrier of players from both sides.

  • Stone-Aamir on February 12, 2013, 9:52 GMT

    "Toughest test of my captaincy" I think Clarke will repeat the same statement when he is going to lead Australia on tours of Sri Lanka, England, South Africa, even playing against Pakistan abroad. The statment sounds more strategic rather than analytical. Current Indian side is also a stuggling one with no depth in bowling but Clarke is just trying to create a hype that the tour is very tough so that at the end of it he can claim that he has passed the "toughest test" with flying colours.

  • Srini_Indian on February 12, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas: Are you kidding? Have some faith in our team. With the retirement of stalwarts like Dravid, VVS, India will always struggle until the youngsters get experience and find their feet. Just give these youngsters a bit more time, they'll get better. BTW, Aussies are not the strongest either. Apart from Watson, Clarke the rest are inexperienced in Indian conditions. You can gloat on the so-called "Aussie pace attack" but they wouldn't have found any harsher conditions like they'll encounter now. Before giving your welcome to the visitors(who are the worst hosts ever), give some respect to the legend Sachin.

  • DINESHCC on February 12, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    Aussies need not climb mountain to beat India, I mean the team under Dhoni and Sir the great Duncan. When Eng is able to beat India in India in all formats of the game, it is a cakewalk for Aussies (which Randyoz will agree). The only silver line for India is Clarke's injury. If he lead the Oz side for the four tests and as long as Dhoni, Sehwag, Dinda, Harbhajan Singh, Vijay playing for India, it is 4-0 for Australia.

  • Herath-UK on February 12, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    Clarke talks of getting known to the conditions & spending sometime in the middle;looks strange in sense in that the just concluded Sri Lankan tour downunder,the Lankans just played one social game in a park prior to the Tests. It is equally or more testing aussie bouncy wickets to the subcontinent teams.There has to be some standard here for all the boards to come to an agreement rather than depends on their rich coffers. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • sanjaycrickfan on February 12, 2013, 8:53 GMT

    India will win this series 2-0. I'm having a feeling Sachin, Sehwag, Kohli, Pujara, Dhoni will do well with the bat. Ojha, Ashwin, Jadeja will get the wickets. Indian fans, be positive. Dont create a negative atmosphere. Even your negativity will create a defeatist vibe. If you dont think we will win, just dont watch and keep your negativity away.

  • Meety on February 12, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    @Dravid_Gravitas on (February 12, 2013, 7:11 GMT) - "...should not see Dhoni and Statchin after this series..." - the sad fact is, that Sachin & Dhoni have been amongst the best performers for India in Tests. Removing Dravid & VVS from the last 2 years, the best batsmen has been Sachin since 2011, & Dhoni is about 3rd best. Pujarra is a an outstanding talent, but it is time for Kohli to deliver. I am somewhat bemused that Gambhir was dropped but Sehwag kept, Gambhir has done better against the tougher sides than Sehwag. I don't think Dhoni should captain the side anymore, but he IMO is holding the side together.

  • Jaffa79 on February 12, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    This series represents the perfect barometre for the Aussies; if they win, then fair play, they are better than I anticipated and I will expect a strong Ashes challenge but if they lose then that will speak volumes. As already mentioned, I think Swann will be looking with interest at how the lefties play spin.

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on February 12, 2013, 7:11 GMT

    A very warm welcome to Michael Clarke and his troops. Hope you all enjoy your stay in our Country. Hussey and Ponting will be missed by me and many Indians. While Clarke is spot-on in his assessment that conditions are so vastly different between Aus and Ind, he shouldn't be overly worried about the Indian Team. We just got slaughtered by England at home. Our team doesn't look good. Worry as much as you may about the conditions, all the worries will disappear once you face our team. I'm giving it, sadly, to Aussies 2-0. I would have given it 3-0 or 4-0 if you had quality spinners like Swann and Monty and a better batting unit, may be experience wise. Nonetheless, your pace attack is indeed scary and should give you that 2-0 series win. We should not see Dhoni and Statchin after this series. End of the road for both of them. I'm guessing India is going to prepare extremely pace unfriendly pitches to negate their terrific pace attack.

  • on February 12, 2013, 6:56 GMT

    Good luck pup...fingers crossed to hunt the lion in its own den!

  • terrifyingwarriors on February 12, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    It seem's like Aussies are following the foot steps of team England. England won 5-0 when India visited England and then India was beaten 0-5 by Aus when they visited Aus. England has spoken so high of this India test team at the start of the series before wrapping up with 2-1 Win now, we see the Aussies do the same thing and I am very certain they will win this series in India. I really hope I am wrong!

  • RD_TEST_CRIC_FOREVER on February 12, 2013, 6:52 GMT

    This Series will be more of Two Rebuilding Test Team Fighting for New Talent........than Two Giants Fighting Hard for Supremacy ..... which was for last few tours......... Looking at Make up of Aussie Side....... for me Cowan Clarky warener Watto are the key to success ..... with Starc Mitch and pattinson look sure to take fragile Indian Batting on acid test... and spinner...uhhh i guess best spinner in AUS side ...... is Micheal Clark Himself.....

    On the other side... India have their own problems with inexperienced pace attack... lack of quality spinners......... and who will be quick to return in pavilion approach batting.....

    Looking forward for some new talents to emerge in ths series....... my bet 2-0 for aussie or 2-1 for india....

  • SherjilIslam on February 12, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    I hope Chennai test would be a Blockbuster going by the history of Ind-Aus tests played at Chennai. I am damn sure this series will be full of surprises.I have never seen both Indian team/Aussie line-up being so unpredictable.I am not sure who's gonna draw first blood, but in paper at-least Aussies looked better, courtesy their bowling. Honestly speaking, India had no other choice except to go for rank turners as that will be the only chance to decimate Aussies.Even the team selection points about that only as they had filled the squad with 4 spinners.

  • Meety on February 12, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    @IndianSRTfan on (February 12, 2013, 4:36 GMT) - top comment. India has historically been a stumbling block for Oz, & whilst I think your current side is well below just a few years ago, it is hard to be completely confident of winning the series. I am hoping for a well contested series, with both sides still undergoing change! I am sorry that Yadav appears to be out of action for the first 2 Tests, that is a big advantage to Oz, although the young bloke B Kumar is a potentially very good bowler, seems to be able to move the ball either way.

  • joseyesu on February 12, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    It is more in the hands of Aus to take 4-0 lead. If they found a batsman as like Cook in the top order, and a descent performance by all the four bowlers they can finish it in 4 days.

  • soumyas on February 12, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    India is equally troubled with retirements of dravid,laxman. Indian fast bowling is not effective and spin department is yet to find rhythm. Also India have pathetic record by loosing last 3 test series. Dhoni looks out of ideas in Test cricket. With all these problems both teams don't exact lee know how things might go. couple of welcome surprises might arise for both teams. So series will be equally contested.

  • on February 12, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    They will never beat India over there ,not in a millions year with the current side they got,it's probably the most hardest ground to win over there then any other grounds around the world ! I wish them good luck !

  • venkatesh018 on February 12, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    This is the most underdone Aussie batting lineup to land on the Indian shores. I do really fear for Clarke and his fellow batters at Chepauk. Mike Hussey is a huge loss. None can replace his skill and technique in these conditions. I can already see 0-1 when Aussies take the flight to Hyderabad.

  • on February 12, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    After the home series against England, one can be assured that this isn't the "final frontier" anymore. Of late, we play spin as badly as others & our spinners aren't that great anymore. Australia have as much chance, if not more, of winning this series.

  • on February 12, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    clarkey u r the real hero and u r at ur peakkk of ur career at dis tym and we feeel ur pain of losing mike and ricky.............dont worry man best ov luck

  • dunger.bob on February 12, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    I think the only thing we can count on is that Clarke won't bat quite as well as he has lately. Not that he's a bad batsman, it's just that it's barely humanly possible to maintain the incredible standard he has been setting. He needs help this time and when you consider the absence of Mike Hussey, it's obvious that the Aussies have a hard, steep road to travel. If Aus. can bat well enough as a unit to consistently put on 350 + then they have a chance. If the batsmen fail consistently (which is a definite possibility) then it's goods night Irene.

  • jmcilhinney on February 12, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    @Harshad K Trivedi on (February 12, 2013, 4:17 GMT), if Nathan Lyon bangs it in short then I'd say that the average Indian batsman would be licking his lips. ;o)

  • Albert_cambell on February 12, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    Clarke doesnt need to warm-up to face these club level bowlers. They played with 6 spinners on a rank turner against England and they still got thrashed. I dont know if they are turning the ball or participating in a breakdance competition.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on February 12, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    This is Indias chance for revival, will they show more guts and honour than the sri lankans who rolled over.

  • JustIPL on February 12, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    Definitely it is the toughest test of clarke's captaincy as no one will tolerate getting out of india this time with inflicting a whitewash on India. Specially. when they were so handsomely outclassed at home both in ODIs and tests. As Indian selectors are stubbornly selecting the same eleven and not agreeing to make wholesale changes to make indian team competitive.

  • Rbak_SRT on February 12, 2013, 4:51 GMT

    @Espnbug: Mate, please wake up, the things u suggested will only happen in ur dreams, please don't get carried over, you people lost as many series to just a single men running through your batting order (Turbunator - Bajji)..he may have lost his form but was toying with your so called batsmen for past 10 years. Anyways India is in a changing phase and looking forward for a good fight.

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    @ShortnStraight_To_Point - SOrry to say but if you think Ricky Ponting was honest, then the meaning of the word needs to be redefined for sure.

    Clarke sure is one of the most selfless, honest and straight forward person and a great leader too.

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:32 GMT

    the way the indian played england the aussie will walk all-over them

  • landl47 on February 12, 2013, 4:28 GMT

    As Meety says, this is crazy scheduling. India requires totally different techniques in both batting and bowling from those required in Australia. A couple of warm-up games is a must; England had 3 and still lost the first test.

    Up to now, Clarke has risen triumphantly to almost every challenge. If he can bring home a series win from India it will be a great achievement.

  • SamRoy on February 12, 2013, 4:22 GMT

    If Clarke misses out on a couple of test matches due to hamstring, India will stroll to series victory.

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Australian are such a tough Bunch, they have raw power of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchel Starc and Nathan Lyon. They will bang them in short and the average Indian batsman, height 5'8", will be no match for the rising delivery.They cannot cope with the spin too these days as proved by Panesar and Root and Samit Patel ! Hope the new Players in the Indian team get to play ahead of the Failed ones otherwise their selection is as good as useless, just Passengers ! With little bit of Luck Aussies can put it across India this time as Indian team is rebuilding, with the Last Old Man of Indian Cricket still standing, Sachin Tendulkar, the only bother for Australia.

  • jmcilhinney on February 12, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    I'm interested to see whether the BCCI avoid providing exposure to spin in the warmup games the way they did for England. Australia don't have the poor reputation against spin that England have but, on genuinely turning tracks, there are a few in that lineup who don't inspire complete confidence. I'm sure that Ashwin is also looking forward to bowling to all those lefties, where he might have more success than he has against primarily right-handers lately. I reckon that Graeme Swann will be watching that with interest. He'll be looking forward to bowling to so many lefties in the Ashes as it is but particularly if they have already struggled in the previous series.

  • guptahitesh4u on February 12, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    Touring India is really a bigger challenge. When Austrlia lost to SA , no one criticized them because they fought well and lost to a superior team.In case of India, though India is much weaker now than it was in 2010, beating India in india always remain a challenge for touring team. And if this Australian side couldn't beat India (which has been beaten recently by the Eng team),it will definitely be a negative score for Australia before going into the Ashes.. Being an Indian fan, I wish for a thrilling contest between two teams

  • ShortnStraight_To_Point on February 12, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Honesty....That is a quality Ponting had and from whatever we have seen till date, clarke seems to have too... And not just honesty actually but both of them have no problems accepting Problem/mistakes in the Media....Totally opposite to the Indian Captian and team unfortunetly!!!!!!!

  • Mary_786 on February 12, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Im not quite certain that Maxwell, Henriques or Smith are up to test cricket. No all rounder is better than one not ready. Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon. Lots of batting depth with Clarke, Khawaja and Warner to bowl spin if required and the likes of Johnson, Siddle and Starc can all bat a little.

  • FighterKallis on February 12, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Harbhajan talks too often and projects himself like a war hero.He is no more a hero a pefect zero . dhoni and co have already shown how we play cricket here some 3 months back.Harabhajan still dreams those days where he got a hat trick. Life is changing and he should understand that . Lyon and doherty will turn the ball and bhajji can learn from them. Watto and Warner will tear apart bhuv and ishant. . last series for sewag and sachin. clarke and kwaja will consolidate in the middle. siddle,bird,starc, pattin,michell each one will enjoy sucess. even rain cannot save them.Pujara ,kohli will disappoint , Dhoni as usual who is not a test stuff. This one sided series is raring to go. Best of luck kangaroos.

  • Meety on February 12, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    The scheduling is madness & Cric Oz only have themselves to blame. The WI tour was pointless & should of been part of a tri-series. This would of opened up some valuable lead time for the tour, plus give some players some Domestic cricket.

  • on February 12, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    i think that this australian team lacks a quality spinner and hence will struggle in India big tym plus usman khawaja and glenn maxwell are starting their test career and to perform straightaway in subcontinent conditions will be asking too much of them.their only chance is if warner,watson and clarke can score big and give a chance to their pacemen to bowl India out.if not then the series will be easily won by INDIA

  • vithur1507 on February 12, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    As far as Michael is concerned, he should move down the order at 5 to accommodate 4 seamers in his line up. The variations Australians seam bowling lineup has is much better than their spin bowling department. Australians cant repeat what England did in India few months ago, with mediocre spin bowling they should try to use their pace bowling department at best. Starc, Siddle, Pattinson and Johnson should make the lineup while Lyon and Clarke must take the spin duty. It will be interesting to see how Wade responds to Indian conditions. The composition of the team is very crucial, with Watson opting out of the bowling duty it will be difficult to slot in an all-rounder at the expense of one of their performing pace men; if that has to happen, I would appreciate bringing Moises Henriques at no.7 instead of Pattinson or Johnson because Maxwell and Smith could be a risk as their spin bowling isnt good to challenge the Indian line-up who are usually good against spin.

  • Jimmyrob83 on February 12, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Lucky they are only playing India then.

  • Jimmyrob83 on February 12, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    Lucky they are only playing India then.

  • vithur1507 on February 12, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    As far as Michael is concerned, he should move down the order at 5 to accommodate 4 seamers in his line up. The variations Australians seam bowling lineup has is much better than their spin bowling department. Australians cant repeat what England did in India few months ago, with mediocre spin bowling they should try to use their pace bowling department at best. Starc, Siddle, Pattinson and Johnson should make the lineup while Lyon and Clarke must take the spin duty. It will be interesting to see how Wade responds to Indian conditions. The composition of the team is very crucial, with Watson opting out of the bowling duty it will be difficult to slot in an all-rounder at the expense of one of their performing pace men; if that has to happen, I would appreciate bringing Moises Henriques at no.7 instead of Pattinson or Johnson because Maxwell and Smith could be a risk as their spin bowling isnt good to challenge the Indian line-up who are usually good against spin.

  • on February 12, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    i think that this australian team lacks a quality spinner and hence will struggle in India big tym plus usman khawaja and glenn maxwell are starting their test career and to perform straightaway in subcontinent conditions will be asking too much of them.their only chance is if warner,watson and clarke can score big and give a chance to their pacemen to bowl India out.if not then the series will be easily won by INDIA

  • Meety on February 12, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    The scheduling is madness & Cric Oz only have themselves to blame. The WI tour was pointless & should of been part of a tri-series. This would of opened up some valuable lead time for the tour, plus give some players some Domestic cricket.

  • FighterKallis on February 12, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Harbhajan talks too often and projects himself like a war hero.He is no more a hero a pefect zero . dhoni and co have already shown how we play cricket here some 3 months back.Harabhajan still dreams those days where he got a hat trick. Life is changing and he should understand that . Lyon and doherty will turn the ball and bhajji can learn from them. Watto and Warner will tear apart bhuv and ishant. . last series for sewag and sachin. clarke and kwaja will consolidate in the middle. siddle,bird,starc, pattin,michell each one will enjoy sucess. even rain cannot save them.Pujara ,kohli will disappoint , Dhoni as usual who is not a test stuff. This one sided series is raring to go. Best of luck kangaroos.

  • Mary_786 on February 12, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    Im not quite certain that Maxwell, Henriques or Smith are up to test cricket. No all rounder is better than one not ready. Cowan, Warner, Hughes, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Wade, Johnson, Siddle, Starc, Lyon. Lots of batting depth with Clarke, Khawaja and Warner to bowl spin if required and the likes of Johnson, Siddle and Starc can all bat a little.

  • ShortnStraight_To_Point on February 12, 2013, 3:50 GMT

    Honesty....That is a quality Ponting had and from whatever we have seen till date, clarke seems to have too... And not just honesty actually but both of them have no problems accepting Problem/mistakes in the Media....Totally opposite to the Indian Captian and team unfortunetly!!!!!!!

  • guptahitesh4u on February 12, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    Touring India is really a bigger challenge. When Austrlia lost to SA , no one criticized them because they fought well and lost to a superior team.In case of India, though India is much weaker now than it was in 2010, beating India in india always remain a challenge for touring team. And if this Australian side couldn't beat India (which has been beaten recently by the Eng team),it will definitely be a negative score for Australia before going into the Ashes.. Being an Indian fan, I wish for a thrilling contest between two teams

  • jmcilhinney on February 12, 2013, 4:13 GMT

    I'm interested to see whether the BCCI avoid providing exposure to spin in the warmup games the way they did for England. Australia don't have the poor reputation against spin that England have but, on genuinely turning tracks, there are a few in that lineup who don't inspire complete confidence. I'm sure that Ashwin is also looking forward to bowling to all those lefties, where he might have more success than he has against primarily right-handers lately. I reckon that Graeme Swann will be watching that with interest. He'll be looking forward to bowling to so many lefties in the Ashes as it is but particularly if they have already struggled in the previous series.

  • on February 12, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    Australian are such a tough Bunch, they have raw power of Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchel Starc and Nathan Lyon. They will bang them in short and the average Indian batsman, height 5'8", will be no match for the rising delivery.They cannot cope with the spin too these days as proved by Panesar and Root and Samit Patel ! Hope the new Players in the Indian team get to play ahead of the Failed ones otherwise their selection is as good as useless, just Passengers ! With little bit of Luck Aussies can put it across India this time as Indian team is rebuilding, with the Last Old Man of Indian Cricket still standing, Sachin Tendulkar, the only bother for Australia.