Chennai: Australian wicket-keeper Matthew Wade believes India are still a very difficult team to beat at home, despite the retirements of Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman and the recent series defeats.
“They (Dravid and Laxman) are class players and champions... Lucky that they are not there... We do not have to get them out twice in every Test,” Wade said.
“However, the guys in the current Indian team are very good batters. They are very experienced, especially playing in home conditions. We need to work hard in the next ten or 15 days and really get ready to go for the first Test match,” he added.
The 25-year-old believes that their pace attack could spring surprises for the home side even on tracks that are not suited for such bowling.
“I saw a little bit of England’s matches when they toured here last. Especially, in their last match, the quick bowlers took a lot of wickets. We have a great fast bowling attack going along with a couple of spinners. I am sure the quick bowlers have a great job to do in India as well,” he said.
Wade hoped his side will have a good outing in the two practice games to get used to the humidity before the opening Test begins on February 22, at Chepauk.
“To bat for a long time would be better for our batters on such tough conditions like the humidity, the heat and the wickets. Peter Siddle and James Pattinson have not bowled much in the last few months. So to get some overs under the games scenario would be good for us,” Wade said.
In the absence of regular skipper Michael Clarke and his deputy Shane Watson, who will be arriving in the next couple of days, Wade will be leading the side against Board President’s XI.
Since the full Australian squad is yet to assemble, the Aussies have exactly 11 players available right now and it will be the local association that will be providing them with substitute fielders.
“I did half a Shield game or whatever for the Vics (Victoria). Apart from that, that’s it,” Wade said. “The bigger guns aren’t here as yet, so we’ve only got 11 to pick from tomorrow.”
Verbal duels have always been a part of an India-Australia series over the years and Wade feels sparks could fly during the upcoming series as the contest would be evenly matched and both side will give their best.
“A few of our fast bowlers have got white-line fever so they don’t plan too much for these things. They just walk out on the ground. India compete hard and so do we. I think that’s why over the years there have been so many tough contests. Both teams will go as hard as they can on the field but I’m sure after the game everything will be fine,” Wade said.
On keeping wickets in India, Wade said: “It is going to be tough keeping wickets in India. I have been working hard during the last four weeks. I have two games before the first Test match.
“No doubt it is tough place to keep wickets but I will get used to the conditions from the two practice games. I have been told lot of stories and I am looking forward to the challenge.”