Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram looked forward to the international summer in Australia and said the hosts will be favourites to beat the visiting Indian side in the forthcoming Test series.
India will tussle with the arch-rivals to try and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and Wasim believes given the robustness of the Australian attack, their task will be extremely difficult.
“I think Australia’s fast bowling is the best in the world. They have Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and other top-class bowlers. It will be a close contest but I would say Australia start off as favourites," he said on 'Cricket Baaz' YouTube channel.
That doesn't mean the great quick doesn't rate the arsenal that India possess. "Mohammad Shami, (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Navdeep) Saini and others are good," he said, while also acknowledging how the Indian team today boast of a lot of self-confidence irrespective of where they are playing.
"The Indian team have got a lot of confidence. Their body language has changed. As a team, they have confidence in themselves just like when we used to enter the ground in the 90s."
"Their body language shows they believe in themselves and the hard work they are putting in. I would say ‘Indian players thode badmash ho gaye hai’, [Indian players have become a little mischievous]."
A lot has been said regarding the comebacks of Steve Smith and David Warner, who weren't there in the 2018-19 season when India created history by winning the Test series 2-1, their first in Australia. But for Wasim, the real difference will be made by how well the Indian quicks adjust again to the surfaces in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
"When the Kookaburra ball gets old you have to think about how to keep runs down as the wickets are tough to come by," he stressed.
The much-anticipated four-match Test series kickstarts on December 17.
(Inputs from PTI)