Former Indian cricket captain Sourav Ganguly wants the batsmen to be wary of the 'pace and bounce' at The Gabba, Brisbane as Australia hosts India in the 1st T20I. Ganguly, also has a few concerns as India have not played a practice match before the three-match T20I series kicks off on November 21.
The Gabba has been known as a hunting ground for pacers and with the likes of Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff sprinting down from the receiving end, the Indian batsmen should expect the unforeseeable.
In an exclusive interview on the show 'Cricket Ki Baat', Ganguly told IndiaTV that the Men in Blue have a stronger team as compared to the hosts and that India have never faced a 'weaker' Australian side, which will see the result go in India's favour.
"India have a stronger team as compared to Australia. India have never been up against such a weak Australian side. So, I think India should play well," Ganguly told IndiaTV.
"I just have one concern that India will directly play Australia in a T20 match tomorrow before playing a practice game."
India have had a few net sessions before the tour commences but have not played a practice match which could be quite concerning. India last played a T20I series- against West Indies at home, which they comfortably clean sweeped 3-0. However, the conditions differ as compared to Brisbane as the players can expect plenty of 'pace and bounce'.
"There will be bounce on this pitch. The pace and bounce on Australian pitches are completely different from what you get in India. I hope they have got used to the pace and bounce in the last couple days by batting at the nets," said the former captain.
India have announced a 12-member squad for the 1st T20I which includes India's regulars. Youngster Rishabh Pant has been handed the responsibility to keep for India. On the playing XI, Ganguly wants all-rounder Krunal Pandya to play instead of spinner Yuzvendra Chahal as he can contribute with the bat as well, which can bring balance to the team.
"Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Khaleel Ahmed will be the three fast bowlers while Kuldeep Yadav will play for sure. India might go with one extra batsman in the first match. I will play Krunal Pandya ahead of Yuzvendra Chahal as he can bat as well. This team has the balance."
The former Indian captain wants India to strike first to create an impact and instil fear straight away and that is, winning by a large margin.
"The result of the first match matters a lot as it will have an impact on the entire series. If India win the match by a good margin, it will be very difficult for Australia to make a comeback in the series. Also, with the bans on Smith and Warner here to stay, Australia will be without the duo for the entire series."
"I feel India should chase if they win the toss. "
On the result of the match, Ganguly feels that India are high on confidence after crushing the World T20 champions at home and will be the favourites to win the match at Brisbane.
"India will be high on confidence and seeing Australia's poor run, I believe India will start as favourites," Ganguly concluded.