‘Ordinary’: India great’s blunt assessment of Australia
INDIA has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end one of cricket's biggest hoodoos by beating Australia in Australia this summer, according to one of the team's greats.
Former Indian wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer said the visitors "will never have a better chance" than what it does now of claiming a Test series victory Down Under.
Australia will be without two of its best batsmen, Steve Smith and David Warner, who have four months left to serve on their ball-tampering suspensions.
That leaves the hosts looking "pretty ordinary" against an in-form Indian outfit, Engineer told Press Trust of India.
"India will never have a better chance of beating Australia," he said.
"Australia are a pretty ordinary team at the moment without these two people (Smith and Warner), and we should make the best of this opportunity."
India has played 11 Test series in Australia since first visiting in 1947. It has thrice secured a series draw (1981, 1985, 2003), and lost the remaining eight.
The nation has lost the last three away series, and hasn't won any of its past nine Tests in Australia.
India has, however, won 11 of its past 13 Test series against any opposition, and is now the highest-ranked Test nation in the world.
Led by the world's best batsman, Virat Kohli, Engineer believes India is well-poised to capitalise on their advantage over the undermanned Australians.
"India are playing very good cricket, we have a great captain in Virat Kohli, he is doing superbly well," he said.
"We have got a good all-round side, good pace bowlers, good spinners, so let's take advantage of that and beat Australia in Australia, which we should be doing and we will be doing God willing."
Engineer, 80, played 46 Test matches for India between 1961 and 1975. He made 2,611 runs at 31.08 and claimed 82 dismissals.