India are due to leave for a full-fledged series including 3 T20Is and 4 Tests followed by 3 ODIs, starting from November 21. While the Men in Blue put up some strong performances on their recent tours to South Africa and England, they were still unable to win the Test series with the scoreline reading a dismal 1-2 and 1-4 respectively. But with the Australian side in a state of turmoil is missing it's two best batsmen in Steven Smith and David Warner, this seems like a golden opportunity for Team India to achieve what none of their predecessors have been able to achieve till date - a Test series win in Australia.
In an exclusive chat with IndiaTV, former opener Virender Sehwag and legendary fast bowler Zaheer Khan reiterated the same while asserting that the batting will have to come good if the unprecedented is to happen. Sehwag on his part also expressed his desire to see one-day Goliath Rohit Sharma playing in the Test team and not just warming the benches.
When asked what kind of challenges the Australian tour will throw at the Indians, the Najafgarh-born batsman said: "In England there is swing, in South Africa, there is seam movement, but in Australia, you only have to counter the extra bounce. If you can adjust to that then you can score runs all day. (Virat) Kohli showed this the last time by scoring 4 hundreds in 4 Tests. It is also necessary in Australia for the Indian team to match the first innings total which will increase the visitors' chances."
On the question of opening the batting in Tests, Viru was more in favour of handing the responsibility to the attacking Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul instead of the more sedate Murali Vijay. "Prithvi and Rahul should open. Because the trend Down Under is that whoever is an attacking batsman makes a lot of runs and wins matches for the team," explained Viru.
The 104-Test veteran reiterated his support for Rohit Sharma's place in the playing XI for Tests by saying: "Definitely Rohit should be part of the playing XI. A player who has scored 3 double hundreds in ODIs shouldn't be sitting out of Tests. I have been repeating this for a long time now."
On the other hand, Zaheer sees the upcoming tour as a golden opportunity for India to end it's overseas victory drought. "This is a great opportunity for India to win a Test series overseas. As there won't be a lot of sideways movement which we saw in England and South Africa. But the batsmen will have to score 350-400 runs consistently to help the bowlers," Zaheer signed off.
(As told to IndiaTV sports correspondent Vaibhav Bhola)