Sydney, Dec.1 : Former South African opener and Indian cricket team coach designate Gary Kirsten has predicted India's batsmen will have the measure of Australia's spinners during the four-Test series this summer.
Kirsten highlighted Australia's spin position as a potential area of weakness India's batsmen could expose and capitalise on.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald from South Africa, Kirsten said the uncertainty surrounding Stuart MacGill's availability, coupled with the relative inexperience of his would-be replacement, Brad Hogg, could prove a boost for the tourists.
"There is a possibility that Australia may play an inexperienced spinner, and I'm sure the Indian batsmen will look to put pressure on whoever that turns out to be. If they can do that successfully, it could play into India's hands. They have got a good record against Australia, and I think the guys are feeling pretty confident heading into the series," Kirsten said.
Kirsten, however, stopped short of making any boastful predictions ahead of India's series against the world champions.
"I'm always very wary of an Australian team that seems to have a few holes in it," he said.
Kirsten will be in the unusual position of leading the Indians to Australia later this month, then leaving them for the first two Tests because of earlier commitments in South Africa.
The former Proteas batsman then plans to rejoin the team for the final two Tests of the summer before taking on the head coaching role full time from March.
India's interim coach, Lalchand Rajput, is tipped to coach the Indians in Kirsten's absence on the tour of Australia.
On the surface, Kirsten seems an unusual appointment for the Indians. With no head coaching experience at any level - a two-year stint as Cricket South Africa's high-performance manager rounding out his resume - the former opener is nonetheless confident of making a positive impact in what is widely regarded as the most high-pressure job in international sport.
"The last thing you want to do is come in and be a distraction, but I have spoken to [Indian captain] Anil [Kumble] about my situation and he is comfortable with me joining the tour again later," Kirsten said.
"I will not be coming in and imposing my ideas on them. That would be wrong. I will try and blend in and help anyway I can. The reality is that I was approached quite late by the Indian board, and, in accepting the job, I told them I had commitments over Christmas and New Year. But it looks like we are close to resolving that issue, and I will join the team for the last two Tests," Kirsten said. (ANI)
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