Australia in India 2017 February 17, 2017

'If Australia play well, India will win 3-0' - Harbhajan

ESPNcricinfo staff
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'This Indian team is not going to sit back and listen' - Harbhajan Singh on sledging © AFP

Harbhajan Singh said Australia don't stand a chance in the four-match Test series against India, especially if spin-friendly pitches are laid out. He also felt Australia's inexperienced batsmen lacked the quality of their predecessors like Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist.

"If Australia play well, India will win 3-0. That is if Australia play well. Otherwise, 4-0," Harbhajan was quoted as saying by the New Daily. "I don't think the wickets [in India] are going to be that easy for them. If the ball starts spinning from the first ball, I don't think they will survive for long.

"Players like [Matthew] Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting, [Damien] Martyn, [Michael] Clarke were all top-class batters. This team - apart from [David] Warner and [Steve] Smith - I don't think they will be able to play the game they play in Australian conditions, here in India. It is going to be a tough series for them."

Australia's spin attack is led by Nathan Lyon, who has 228 Test wickets, but the rest of the group - Steve O'Keefe (four Tests), Ashton Agar (two) and uncapped legspinner Mitchell Swepson - are thin on experience. While R Ashwin felt Australia's spinners couldn't be taken lightly, Harbhajan said they would find it difficult to bowl the right speeds on Indian pitches.

"I don't think they have the quality to do so. It is different bowling here and bowling there [Australia]," he added. "The speed [off the pitch] is different - they will have to adjust to that.

"You don't get that in Australia but here you get a lot of help, so from the first ball you need to bowl that correct speed. Not many spinners have done [that] in India for the last 15 years. Only [Monty] Panesar and [Graeme] Swann did it but nobody else."

Upon Australia's arrival, Smith had said he would let individuals decide if they wanted to engage in verbal jousting with India on the field.

"If they want to sledge, then they better be prepared for a lot of stuff from this Indian side," he said. "This Indian team is not going to sit back and listen. All I can say is good luck to Australia if they want to play that way."

Harbhajan, who last played a Test in 2015, is India's most successful offspinner. With 95 wickets from 18 Tests, including a breakout series in 2001 where he claimed 32 wickets to engineer India's historic triumph, he was for a long time Australia's bête noire.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan41984064 on February 21, 2017, 10:26 GMT

    This time Scenario is diffirent because austraila beat pakistan recently this mean no one stand against Australia now.

  • chitti_cricket on February 20, 2017, 13:18 GMT

    Hello Harbajan baiters both Indian and Aussies alike, you all please remember he was for a long time Australia's bête noire and an excellent spin bowler of last generation. He may not be playing now but has too good an experience of both Australian and Indian conditions. All he has don is his assessment of current Australian tea as he has played against their best teams. Some of you may think this team is better than Steve Waugh's team and you are rightly entitled to think so, no problem in that but the same way he is too. Coming to sledging part is he not saying the truth? I totally agree with him Aussies should stop thinking this Indian team is like it's predecessors in 1980/90s which was mild and weak, This team is on top of it's game and is not afraid to give back what it gets. Aussies are the ones who spoiled the reputation of this gentleman game with their poor tactics and those worked when world was naïve to them not any more friends, please grow up and get what you seed.

  • gs_cricket on February 19, 2017, 16:03 GMT

    If Aus gets incited by these sledging tactics and smash the Indian spinners around, I wonder who gets to gain to make a comeback. Food for thought.

  • NS13 on February 19, 2017, 15:27 GMT

    Sledging and mind games are a sign of weakness. Basically you are telling the other team you are not good enough to compete with just bat and ball. Aussies can employ their outdated tactic at their own peril. It will only fire up this Indian side even more.

  • BRADMANBESTEVER on February 19, 2017, 14:23 GMT

    I did not realize this guy had such a big chip on his shoulder.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on February 19, 2017, 12:20 GMT

    Let's face it. Bhajji is entitled to his 'views'.... But then,since when has any1 been taking anything from him too seriously? Trust me,Smith and co won't ,from this has been.. They'll purely be focussed on mission 'final-frontier -2'. One thing I agree on is this sham,false bravado called 'sledging'. The Aussies-or for that matter our own Ind team-will be much better off focusing on the ball-or bat-,or rather the task i hand... Just leave out the rest.. The team that wins this series will do so on the back of runs,big runs,wkts,fielding and catches,i.e the on field stuff,not on any1's oratory skills....

  • Bakht Noor Farooqi on February 19, 2017, 10:13 GMT

    Herbajan may be right but it's highly predicted that Australia will definitely be trying to show a world class cricket here in Asian soil though their tough schedule may make them go astray from the real performance here.

  • WalkingWicket11 on February 19, 2017, 9:10 GMT

    @CRICK_JUNKY: What does Harbhajan's record have to do here? He is not playing this Test series. He commented on the current Indian team, not the team that he was playing in.

  • crick_junky on February 19, 2017, 6:52 GMT

    What an arrogant comments by Harbajan. The man who have nothing to show off his carrier outside Asia or Ind for that matter is belittling a side who have won pretty much every part of the world. If Australia play well, the result should be 2-2 or 2-1 in favor of India, won't be 3-0. Last few times, Aus was way to attacking trying to force a result as if only the have the responsibility to do so. I think this time around they would take their time in batting, would look for draw as the objective and win if it is in sight, this is what Ind always do thus loose far less matches in Ind than opposition. Just wait and watch, Ind blowers will be equally tired this time around.

  • sachin_vvsfan on February 19, 2017, 5:10 GMT

    Realistic expectation. We should win the series 2-1. Do not expect the Aussies to give away the remaining match(s) if they already lost the series. All this talk about their past records mean nothing in the present.

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