Rahul Dravid: Smith-Warner impact will pose stiff challenge for India in Australia

Rahul Dravid warns Team India of the impact Steve Smith and David Warner will have on the Australia side when India heads Down Under later this year.

India recorded its first Test series win Down Under in 2018-19 in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner. This time, India replicating that result is not going to be easy.   -  Getty Images

Batting great Rahul Dravid feels with ‘impactful’ Steve Smith and David Warner up its ranks this time around, India will face stiff challenge in its Test tour of Australia later this year.

The disgraced duo of Smith and Warner missed India’s historic away Test series win over Australia in 2018 because of their one-year bans for their involvement in the infamous ball-tampering episode in South Africa.

In the absence of the duo, India recorded its first Test series win Down Under in 2018-19.

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“Missing Smith and Warner was a huge thing for Australia because of the impact they have on that team. They are their (Australia’s) top two batsman, they scored the most number of runs for them,” Dravid said on Sony Ten Pit Stop, aired on the channel’s Facebook page.

“We have seen how big an impact someone like Smith had on the Ashes. Even though Warner was out of form, he was able to carry that series along with (Marnus) Labuschagne on his own.

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Rahul Dravid has worked with Steve Smith in the capacity of being Rajasthan Royals' mentor.   -  Vivek Bendre

“But yes, these two guys (Smith and Warner) will make a huge impact in that team, so it will be a bigger and stiffer challenge for India this time around,” added the former India captain, a veteran of 164 Tests.

India is set to tour Australia for a four-match Test series, starting December 3 at Gabba, Brisbane.

“Australia will always look back on the last series and they can always say look Smith and Warner were not there, our best players were not there, but this time you are going to have all the best players of both the teams,” Dravid said.

The India stalwart, however, said Virat Kohli's side has the firepower to give Australia a tough fight in the upcoming series.

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“But I’d say India has got the fire power to compete and they have got top-class players. So it should be a good one, everyone is going to look forward to it,” he said.

The 47-year-old also described the series as a “marquee” one.

“It is going to be a great series especially after India won last time, it was a fantastic win for India,” Dravid said.

“Two great teams, two top-class teams. Australia obviously back to full strength with Smith and Warner. The area where Australia struggled last time was their batting, their batting just kept collapsing, they never gave their bowlers enough to rest upon. So that is something that they will hope that doesn’t happen this time.

“India’s bowling has been fantastic over the last couple of years, so that should be great. It should be a great contest and probably marquee series of the year for the world,” signed off Dravid, who amassed 13288 Test runs.

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