Greg Chappell expects Australia to be competitive on home turf

Ahead of the India vs Australia Test series, national talent manager and selector Greg Chappell talks about the host's spin struggles, the twin vice-captaincy and more.

Greg Chappell and coach Justin Langer during Australia's nets session at Adelaide Oval.   -  Getty Images

Australia is all set to take on India close on the heels of a Test series loss to Pakistan and an ODI drubbing at the hands of South Africa.

As Cricket Australia takes fresh guard to tackle the upheaval triggered by the events of March 24, 2018, when then captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were banned for their involvement in ball-tampering, national talent manager and selector Greg Chappell is confident that the team will turn a corner.

Read: The Sachin Tendulkar interview

Ahead of the Test series against India, Chappell talks about Australia's spin struggles, the twin vice-captaincy move, India's pace attack and more in a chat with Sportstar.  

There's plenty of chatter about India's pace attack this time, especially with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami performing well. What's your assessment of Indian pacers — are they better than those in the previous touring sides?

I think India has a world-class pace attack. We saw in England how well they handled the overseas conditions, and I expect them to be very competitive in Australian conditions. To win overseas, Indian teams need to have quality pace bowlers. I think that’s been a focus for them in recent times and they’re starting to see the benefits.

We saw Australia struggling against pace on a dead pitch in the second Test against Pakistan. Is that a concern or do you see it more as an aberration?

International cricket provides plenty of challenges, but I expect a different situation in Australia this summer, in conditions we are more accustomed to.

Australia recently appointed two vice-captains in Mitchell Marsh and Josh Hazlewood.  What was the logic behind the move? Isn't there a possibility that it could create more confusion instead of bringing clarity?

We believe Josh and Mitch will be really strong leaders for the Australian team, and provide plenty of support for Test captain Tim Paine. Having two vice-captains provides the squad with great balance, and it is a leadership model used in many sports around the world, which we think will have a positive impact for this group.

Chappell with Australia captain Tim Paine ahead of the first Test against India in Adelaide.   -  Getty Images

 

Brought up on wickets that aid seamers, are Australian youngsters coming through the school and club systems well equipped to play spin? 

I’m very comfortable with the quality of young cricketers coming through our junior pathways, and we are seeing those players transition to first-class cricket in Australia. We’ve had a focus in recent years of trying to develop both the quality of our spin bowlers and the quality of our batsmen playing spin bowling. I believe that will show in our performances in the future.

You've been a coach yourself... Is it really possible to teach nuances of playing spin to international cricketers?

It’s definitely possible to learn, but it requires learning through a combination of training and match opportunities. The balance of those two environments is important. It is also dependent on the quality of spin bowling available, hence our concerted effort to encourage the development of spin bowling in our youth pathways.

What would be Australia's biggest strength going into the series against India?

The fact that we are playing at home, in conditions we know well, will be a benefit. I think we have a well-balanced bowling attack and some strong batsmen, which will mean that we will be very competitive in what promises to be a challenging series.