India will be difficult to beat for 'under pressure' Australia, says Clarke

Former Australia captain Michael Clarke feels Virat Kohli’s men can stretch both England and Australia in their respective backyards later this year.

Michael Clarke and Sachin Tendulkar in a book launch event in Mumbai on Monday.   -  Emmanual Yogini

The Indian Premier League (IPL) may be the flavour of the summer. But soon after the monsoon sets in, India’s cricketers will resume their challenges of facing formidable oppositions in overseas conditions. Former Australia captain Michael Clarke feels Virat Kohli’s men can stretch both England and Australia in their respective backyards later this year.

“I think if India and Australia have their players fully fit it will end up being an unbelievable series. There’s no doubt that Losing Smith, Warner and Bancroft is going to hurt Australia. But I would hate to see that if India does have success in Australia for it to be taken away due to the absence of the three players. I don’t think that is fair to the Indian team. India are a great team and they have had success individually in terms of players who are going to be on that tour. They know the conditions there really well,” Clarke said during the release of Eleven Gods And A Billion Indians, a book authored by Boria Majumdar.

“I certainly think that they are in for a great chance to win in England as well. If India can beat England in England, they go to Australia with so much confidence, that it is going to be really hard to beat them at home. Australia is under pressure at the moment with everything that has happened and to try and work out what their team is going to be. They need to find a way and start to rebuild really quickly because it is a massive series considering we have never lost to India in Australia. So the current team needs to figure out how they are going to build on that success and beat a really good Indian team.”

The function saw the author discussing various aspects of Indian cricket with Clarke, legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar, India coach Ravi Shastri and India’s white-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma. While Tendulkar on the eve of his 45th birthday recalled some of the tales during his glittering playing career, Shastri oozed confidence that India can take on any opposition in all conditions.

Having suffered during the South Africa Test series due to want of preparation, Shastri felt India will be better off by the time the five-Test series starts in England in August. We have tried get into position where we got in early and we play some matches. Michael and I had a chat earlier that we will be there almost a month before the first Test match, we play some one-day cricket before the first Test match starts. You kick off the one-day games around July 1 and the first Test starts August 1. Gives us that much more time,” Shastri said.