Ricky Ponting says India are welcome to have a go at Brad Hogg, the left-arm spinner primed to play a role in the MCG Test, but says they will do so at their own peril.
"If they want to go after him, well, that's good, because I think that's probably the best way for us to take wickets," Ponting told AFP. "Hoggy is bowling very well, he's very confident, he's been talking up how well he's been bowling right through the summer ... he'll do a good job."
Anil Kumble, India's captain, has identified Hogg as a potential weak link, after Harbhajan Singh took aim at him earlier this week. "I think one-day cricket is a bit different. We have played him [Hogg] before so we should not have a problem," Kumble said. "We play spinners day in, day out. It's not an issue for us."
Ponting, however, warned that overconfidence could work in Australia's favour. "A lot of international players have struggled reading Hoggy, in one-day cricket especially," he said. "He's brought a lot of guys undone with his variations in that form of the game and I can't see why there would be anything different in Test cricket.
"If you'd looked at him before the World Cup, you probably wouldn't have thought he would have been able to have that sort of impact. But he has kept changing little things, little variations, and he's varied his pace more. He generally bowls at a faster pace now as a stock ball than he did three or four years ago, which I think has helped him a lot. He's learning all the time, which we all are."