Australia in India 2008-09 September 13, 2008

Harbhajan tips tough time for new spinners

Cricinfo staff


Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh have 907 Test wickets between them; Australia's Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza have none © AFP
 

Harbhajan Singh is confident that Australia's two new spinners will pose little threat to India's batsmen in the upcoming Test series. Australia picked the uncapped Bryce McGain and Jason Krejza as their frontline slow bowlers for the India tour and Harbhajan said while he knew little about them, the two men were clearly a step down from Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill.

"We were always aware when we played Australia at home that Shane Warne was the main threat, and now that he is not there, it is obviously good for us," Harbhajan told the Sydney Morning Herald. "Warne and Stuart MacGill have both been great spin bowlers.

"There are no spinners in Australia of the quality of Warne and MacGill now, and I'm sure our batsmen, who are the best players of spin in the world, are going to have fun with this challenge. We are not worried about whoever comes. I'm sure our batsmen will be okay."

The slow men could potentially be the weak link in an Australian attack that will be led by Brett Lee, Stuart Clark and Mitchell Johnson, although none of the bowlers have played a Test in India. Australia have a vastly different line-up to the group that won in India in 2004-05 and only four members of the current squad have Test experience in the country.

"It is obviously a big advantage to us that players like Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Warne and Jason Gillespie are not around this time," Harbhajan said. "All of those guys have done well here in the past. The last time they were here they beat us, but I genuinely think that if we play to the level we're capable of, we can defeat them.

"We know that whoever Australia pick, they will be a good team, whether Shane Warne is playing or not. They are still the No. 1-ranked team in the world, and it is always a challenge to play them. But we think we have a very good chance, playing in our home conditions and with the crowds supporting us."

India's spin attack will be in stark contrast to that of Australia, with Harbhajan needing only nine more wickets to reach 300 in Tests. India's leading spin pair of Harbhajan and Anil Kumble have 907 Test victims between them; McGain and Krejza's joint total is zero.

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