The 45-year-old is aware of Team India's injury concerns that are increasing with each passing day. However, he wants the visitors to believe that they have enough bench strength to beat this Australian side.
In a video on his YouTube Channel, Shoaib Akhtar explained the impact Team India's series win will have if they emerge victorious at the Gabba.
“Now at the final stages (of the series), I think India have got it in them to win this series. Again, a last little push, where they will face issues, they have several injury concerns, but the Indian bench strength has to believe that they can do it, they need to give one last effort and they can win the series," Shoaib Akhtar said.
Team India will have a second-string pace attack, with Jasprit Bumrah too ruled out of the fourth Test due to an abdominal strain.
Moreover, the Aussies have an unbelievable record at the Gabba, having won 33 Tests out of the 55 played there. The hosts haven't lost at the venue since 1988.
The Rawalpindi Express feels there will be no bigger series win than this, should an injury-ravaged India pull off a miracle in Brisbane. Shoaib Akhtar continued:
“If from this point onwards, India goes on to win this series, then that will be a big big victory. According to me, it will be the biggest series win in Test history."
Team India have shown a lot of guts in their draw at the SCG: Shoaib Akhtar
The foundation of a resolute rearguard action in Sydney was laid by a fantastic 148-run stand between Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant on Day 5. After the duo were dismissed, the Aussies sniffed a chance of an Indian batting collapse.
Things seemed to start going downhill for the visitors when Hanuma Vihari injured his hamstring. However, writhing in pain, the 27-year-old batted for almost four hours, facing 161 balls for his 23 to keep the Australian attack at bay.
Vihari was well supported by Ravichandran Ashwin, who himself played out 128 balls for his 39. The duo ensured the hosts didn't make inroads into the visitors' fragile lower-order and took Team India to safe shores.
Shoaib Akhtar heaped praise on the visitors for showing grit and determination to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
“I think all credit goes to India because they have shown a lot of guts, a lot of guts. The whole team, spinner, tailenders, fast bowlers, Bumrah has put in all his energy, even got himself injured, but did not let the series slip away,” Shoaib Akhtar said.
While Shoaib Akhtar understands Jasprit Bumrah's absence is a huge blow to Team India, he thinks it is also an opportunity for one among Shardul Thakur and T Natarajan to step up and showcase their skills.
Despite almost everything going wrong for India, they have shown enough courage and fight to keep the series alive.
It remains to be seen whether the Aussies flex their muscles at their favorite hunting ground, or the depleted visitors punch above their weight and breach the Gabba fortress to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.Published 13 Jan 2021, 14:52 IST