Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson feels that the faltering Indian batsmen will fare much better against Australia later this year compared to how they performed against England in the ongoing five-match series.
Save skipper Virat Kohli (544 runs in 4 Tests) and partially Cheteshwar Pujara, most of the Indian batsmen could not perform up to their potential as England have already clinched the series with a 3-1 lead.
“It is not easy to play swing bowling. Trust me when Australia travel to England for Ashes next year, it won’t be easy for them also. England is the only place where the ball swings that much primarily due to conditions. You just can’t land in England once every three years and be successful,” Watson told PTI during an interaction.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane forged a crucial 159-run stand for the fourth wicket in India’s first innings. AFile image of Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane. AFP
However, the former all-rounder feels that India’s tour Down Under at the end of the year would be much better compared to England.
“Look, if you check records, Indian batsmen of late have done well in Australia. Virat has scored loads of runs and I remember a fine century by (KL) Rahul at the SCG. Even Rahane scored a few runs,” Watson, who played 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for his country, said.
“In Australia, the kookaburra will stop swinging after first 10 or may be 15 overs unlike Dukes which can swing all day. I don’t think bounce would be that much of a problem.”
For Watson, it is a global phenomenon that teams are not travelling well and India shouldn’t be blamed for their performance.
“I don’t think any international team is playing swing bowling well these days and that is reflective in the performance on overseas performance,” said Watson.
However, Indians, who have grown up playing on turners, have once again flopped against Moeen Ali like the series of 2014.
India have also not negotiated Australia’s Nathan Lyon well but Watson feels that a quality spinner will always be a difficult proposition for any batsman.
“Look at Shane Warne’s track record. He got wickets all around the world and knew how to bowl on Day 4 and 5 tracks. Ditto for Lyon or Moeen, who know how to make best use of fourth and fifth day track,” said Watson.
Talking about India’s tour of Australia that starts with limited overs series in the last week of November, Watson said he is concerned about how Australia will score big first innings score in the absence of their banned skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner.
“The biggest challenge for Australia will be to post big scores in the absence of Warner and Smith. These two were instrumental in Australia getting big scores. Like Tim Paine is a capable man of leading Australia. He has the requisite leadership qualities but I am more concerned about the batting than captaincy,” the 37-year-old said.
Watson named Usman Khawaja as one of the players who will have to play a big role for Australia.
“Usman Khawaja is a phenomenal player and I believe now he will be given a long rope. I am hoping that he will do well and expect him to take a lot of responsibility. He has just scored a fine hundred against India A (in Bengaluru). Apart from Usman, I would love to see Shaun and Mitch Marsh do well against India,” he said.
On a personal front, Watson will be representing Karachians in the T10 league in the United Arab Emirates and said he is excited about his association.
“It is completely new format and I am excited to see how it pans out. That’s why I have signed for the Karachians to play the T10 league. It will certainly be different from T20 as the duration becomes half. I am confident that this format will attract a new set of crowd,” Watson said.
Asked about the much-hyped 100-ball format conceived by England and Wales Cricket Board, Watson said that T10 will be much different from 100-ball format.
“I think 100 ball format is more closer to the T20 format whereas T10 is completely different,” he concluded.