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September 27, 2008
Former India coach Greg Chappell, who is now Australia's assistant coach, said he was "amused" by concerns that he would share inside information about the Indian team with Australia.
"I am also flattered by the fact that people think that I wield a magic wand and can change things overnight," he said. "Australia and India have played a lot against each other in recent times. The Indians must be having the footage of Australian players as much as the Australians have of the Indians. There are no secrets between the two teams now."
Australia kicked off their first warm-up match of the tour on Saturday after arriving in India six days ago. Chappell dismissed suggestions that India will lose their home advantage because of the amount of time Australia have to acclimatise before the Tests. "The series will be decided by which team is able to put the basics together consistently and prepared to work the hardest," he said. "Mental aspects are as important as physical aspects. The team that shapes up better mentally will be the favourite team."
He said it was Australia coach Tim Nielsen's idea to reach India early and practise at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy. "He did say that if the Champions Trophy was cancelled they would consider coming here The idea was as most of the players are coming for the first time for Test cricket, they would want to have a camp here. I then spoke to Lalit Modi (RCA chief) and that was how it came through."
Chappell also backed Australia's captain Ricky Ponting, who has a poor record in India (he averages 12.28 in eight Tests, making it by far his least productive venue in a career during which he has averaged 58.37) to come good in the series. "He is conscious of the fact that his record here is not so good as compared to other countries. I can see a steely glint in his eyes and that means a few runs around in India this time. If I were in the Indian team that would be the thing that would have been worried me."
Though several of Australia's experienced players having retired since the previous tour to India in 2004, Chappell said most of the newer squad members have prior experience of the country from A team or academy side visits. "The team is in transition after the retirement of some great players. But with that comes the opportunity for somebody to step up in win for Australia. Historically whenever such an opportunity came somebody has won matches for Australia. We are hoping that happens in this series."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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