Melbourne [Australia], February 1 (ANI): Former Australian spinner Steve O’Keefe believes that this touring group is in a better position than the 2017 Australia team and has three simple pieces of advice for the current touring team: beware the ambush, be ready to pounce, and bat big.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy begins in Nagpur on February 9 with Tests in Delhi, Dharamsala and Ahmedabad.
“I think they went the sucker punch first-up where they could get ahead in the series,” O’Keefe told the Sydney Morning Herald.
O’Keefe believes that this touring side is better equipped than the 2017 squad to accomplish something that Australia has only done twice since 1969: win a series in India.
“I’m so bullish about this team. A lot of those guys who are part of that (2017) experience would have learned so much from that. At times we got close, and the next time becomes a little bit easier. I believe that is going to be the case this time,” he said.
“We’re going over with a strong batting group who play spin really well. Marnus (Labuschagne) hasn’t played over there but is a good player of spin, we’ve seen that already. Cameron Green is elite, so I feel this group is strong,” he added.
In 2017, Australia won the low-scoring Pune Test thanks to O’Keefe and Steve Smith’s stunning century in challenging conditions.
“The pitch spun a great deal. Steve played an amazing inning. It’s just interesting over there, you’ve just got to get ahead of the game, and it’s very hard to get ahead in India. But that’s the key,” O’Keefe said.
“They very rarely give you an opportunity. And when you can sniff it, you’ve got to take full advantage of it. You’ve got to try and find a way to accelerate the game, so you’re so far ahead of them that they’re coming from well behind,” he added.
Australia Test squad for India tour: Pat Cummins (capt), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Lance Morris, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson and David Warner. (ANI)