India vs Australia 2017: Nathan Lyon responds to Harbhajan Singh's prediction of 4-0 whitewash
What’s the story?
Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon has played down Harbhajan Singh’s views on their chances in the upcoming 4-Test series against India. The 29-year-old pointed to the presence of world-class players in the side such as Steve Smith and David Warner whilst reiterating that they will not be bothered about pre-series predictions from former cricketers.
Lyon felt, “Good luck to him (Harbhajan). Everyone has his opinion. As an Australian team, we are worried about our processes. We are not worried about what everyone believes and thinks about this team. We have got unbelievable talent in the room out there. We have got good leaders with David Warner as vice-captain and Steve Smith as captain.
“We'll come out and compete hard with India. We know it's going to be a challenge. India are the number one side for a reason. We don't expect our big fast bowlers to come out and get them five down (on the opening day). It's a big challenge for us. We are looking forward to it.”
A few days back, Harbhajan had claimed that this was the ‘weakest’ Australian team to set foot on Indian shores and they could be in for a whitewash at the hands of Virat Kohli’s team. He even reiterated that the visitors should only hope for a 0-3 defeat at best if they were to play well.
The heart of the matter
Harbhajan has not been the only big name to spell doom for Australia. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly also expected India to register a 4-0 clean sweep. Even venerated names from down under such as Ricky Ponting and Ian Chappell had sounded the death knell for Steven Smith’s side.
Australia’s chances largely revolve around their most successful off-spinner ever in Lyon. The man himself admitted to have been studying Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin quite closely. He also expressed eagerness to utilize the series as an opportunity to learn from the world’s top ranked bowler.
The first of the 4 matches is scheduled to begin on Thursday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune. Australia’s head coach Darren Lehmann has hinted at the team’s playing eleven and left-armer Steve O’Keefe is likely to partner Lyon in the spin department.
A major nemesis of Australian cricket during his heydays, Harbhajan has come up with some bold claims regarding their current outfit. While India are mostly expected to dominate the series because of familiarity in conditions, the visitors do have the necessary personnel to ride on the underdog tag and create an upset. All in all, the stage is set for a fascinating contest.