Steve Waugh brushes away Tendulkar's Labuschagne comparison

Full-strength Australia starts favourite in the year-end series Down Under against India, according to former Aussie skipper Steve Waugh.

Sachin Tendulkar and Marnus Labuschagne (R)   -  PTI/AP

When Sachin Tendulkar points out someone as the cricketer who reminds him of himself, there is bound to be a lot of interest around the player. But former Australian captain Steve Waugh does not think Marnus Labuschagne could turn out to be someone like Tendulkar, though he is very impressed with 25-year-old.

“Maybe he's trying to put him off by saying so. I don't think so but look, Sachin has got every right to say that. May be, he saw something, in my opinion, his temperament or the way he goes about his batting,” said Waugh, on the sidelines of the 20 Laureus World Sports Awards celebrations here.

READ | Sachin Tendulkar likens Marnus Labuschagne to himself  

“He has appetite for runs and he tries exceptionally hard. I was really impressed with him when he stood out at the Ashes. He wanted to make a difference, he wanted to be the next player to do well. He came a long way from the back of the pack... 12 months ago he was just in the top 26 players in Australia, now he is the fourth-ranked Test batsman in the world. So, it's been an incredible transformation.”

Was he trying to brush away the pressure on Labuschagne?

With Tendulkar's praise, the spotlight will be on Labuschagne, who recently won Australia's Test Player of the Year award, as India travels Down Under towards the end of the year for a four-match Test series.

India had beaten Australia 2-1 for its first-ever Test series win Down Under early last year but Waugh felt his country would start favourite this time.

Steve Waugh at the 20 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin. Photo: Stan Rayan


"Australia will be the favourite I think because we are playing in Australia and we know the pitches well and the day-night Test is something reasonably new. I like the way Virat Kohli is taking that challenge, if you want be the best side in the world, you have to win away from home as much as you can," he said.

“As you said they won the series last can't take anything away from India but the fact is, we did not have two of our best batsmen last time and now Labuschagne has come out of nowhere, our bowling attack is settled, there are no weaknesses in the Australian side. India does not have weaknesses, too, so it's going to be potentially a great series.”

READ | Adelaide to host India-Australia D/N Test, confirms Ganguly

The coming series could be one where fast bowlers could be the big difference. How does Waugh compare India and Australia in that department?

“India has the best fast bowling attack in India, when they are playing in India they are best fast bowling attack in the world. When cricket is played in Australia, I think Australia is the best fast bowling attack in the world,” he said.

“So, when they come to Australia, I think we will have a slight edge. And if we go to India, India will have a slight edge. So, it's touch and go, both captains will be very happy with their personnel and they know they can take 20 wickets. And that's what they do to win Test matches.”

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