Tendulkar: ‘We have a huge opportunity in Australia’

In Steve Smith and David Warner’s absence, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar expects the Virat Kohli army to do something special Down Under.

Sachin Tendulkar interacts with 12-year-old Pradnya Bhagwat during the inauguration of Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy.   -  Vivek Bendre

Sachin Tendulkar feels India has a “huge opportunity” to “do something special” during its forthcoming tour to Australia, especially considering the absence of Steven Smith and David Warner.

“I think we have a huge opportunity. The Australian team doesn't look the same Australian side it used to be. With Smith and Warner not there, this is a great opportunity to go out and do something special,” Tendulkar said on the sidelines of the first camp of the Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy at the Dr. D.Y. Patil Sports Academy in Nerul on Thursday.

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Australia will be without Smith and Warner who would continue to serve their bans for their involvement in the ball tampering saga against South Africa earlier this year. With Australia struggling to cope with the absence of its captain and vice-captain, calls are being made by the Australian Cricketers Association for a reduction in the punishment for the duo so that they will be available for the marquee series against India, which will feature three T20Is, four Tests and three ODIs starting November 21.

Vinod Kambli joined hands with Tendulkar to train young cricketers under Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy.   -  Vivek Bendre

 

Tendulkar, however, refused to be drawn into the debate over Smith and Warner's early acquittal. “Well, I would want to see good cricket for sure and they both are world-class players. I don't want to get into that debate whether their bans should be reduced or not but I would like to see them. By no means am I saying or interfering in their judgment, all I am saying is they both are world-class players,” he said.

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Bench strength

Tendulkar was impressed with India's depth in its pace attack and felt it augured well ahead of the next year's World Cup. “It's very good. Healthy competition is always welcome. That means we have got good fast bowlers who are sitting on the bench also.

"So whenever bench-strength is strong, in case there are injuries at the last moment, you know that someone is sitting out and is fully geared up and ready to go out there and deliver,” he said.