Former Indian captain Rahul Dravid believes that the forthcoming India-Australia Test series Down Under will be an exciting contest. He said that the presence of Steve Smith and David Warner in the Aussie line-up will pose a stiffer challenge for India than the last time.
Rahul Dravid put forth his views on various aspects of the game in the latest edition of the show 'Sony Ten Pit Stop', including his thoughts on the upcoming India-Australia series.
Rahul Dravid said that he wishes that the situation will go back to normal at the earliest, so that the much-anticipated series could go ahead as scheduled.
"It is going to be a great series, especially after India won last time. I think it was a great victory for India in Australia. And Australia will be keen to correct that. There is a lot of talk about it. Obviously it is the marquee series of the year, so there is a great build-up. So I am really hoping that things are back to normal or at least normal enough that we can have that series."
Rahul Dravid opined that it would be an exciting series, with the presence of Steve Smith and David Warner providing depth to the Aussie batting line-up.
"It should be a cracking series, two great teams, two top-class teams. Australia obviously will be back to full strength with Smith and Warner. The area where Australia struggled last time was their batting, which did not give the bowlers enough time to rest. So that they will hope that doesn't happen this time."
Rahul Dravid added that both the teams should have their best eleven available this time, as a result of the return of Australia's two most accomplished batsmen.
"Australia will look back at the last series and they can always say that Smith and Warner weren't there. But this time you should have all the best players of both teams competing. It should be a really good one. Missing Smith and Warner was a huge thing for Australia, with just the kind of impact they have on that team. They are their top 2 batsmen, they score the most number of runs for them."
Rahul Dravid highlighted the outstanding performances dished out by Steve Smith in the Ashes series to emphasise that the upcoming series will be a tougher one for Team India.
"You see what a big impact Smith had for them in the Ashes. Even though Warner was out of form, he was able to carry that series along with Labuschagne. It is definitely going to be a bigger and stiffer challenge for India this time around, but India has got the firepower to compete with that. They have top class players."
Rahul Dravid praises India's bowling attack
Rahul Dravid added that both the teams have great spinners, and talked about India having the option to choose between 3 spinners.
"Both the teams have great spinners as well. Nathan Lyon is bowling well and India has probably 3 spinners to choose from. Ashwin would probably be the favourite to start but Jadeja has never let the team down whenever he has played. Kuldeep has taken 5 wickets the last time he played a Test match in Australia. India is going to have options."
On being asked if the current crop of pace bowlers is India's most lethal pack of quicks ever, Rahul Dravid replied in the affirmative, stating that as a bunch they are the best.
"As a collection of fast bowlers, this is probably the best fast bowling attack we have had. We have had great fast bowlers like Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan. But as a group, or even if you look outside the group, whether it is a Navdeep Saini or a Siraj or a Shardul Thakur, these guys have been doing well at the A team level and they are also of a very high-class standard. What's been the difference is that whichever 3 bowlers we put on the park, we are confident of them performing well. In the past if guys got injured, we did not have the depth which we have developed in fast bowling in India at the moment."
"And lot of them bring something different to the table. Bumrah brings a different angle, Ishant has got height, Shami is skiddier and swings it a lot more, Umesh is slingier. While you may not have a left-arm quick, they are all different in unique ways. That makes it a very good attack, because you don't want similarity in your attack."