Anil Kumble has declared India firm favourites for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy, saying that this is the best chance for the No.1 ranked Test side to secure their maiden series win Down Under.
India have never won a Test series in Australia, with its best result being a 1-1 draw in 2003-04. The much-awaited Test series kickstarts on December 6 in Adelaide.
"I think whether Australia has a full playing XI or not, the potential that the current (Indian) team has certainly makes this their best opportunity to win a series in Australia. They missed out in South Africa and England but this is a great opportunity to beat Australia in Australia," Kumble told CricketNext.
India have arrived in Australia as a No.1 ranked Test side. However, they still have a lot to prove outside the subcontinent. Kohli’s side lost 2-1 to South Africa earlier this year and then suffered a 4-1 series defeat in England this summer. The common thing in both the series defeats was India letting the tail wag for far too long.
"I don't think any captain or any players is a finished product. I mean you're constantly learning and I'm sure Virat is also constantly learning from all the experiences that he's had in South Africa and also in England," Kumble remarked.
"You spoke about the key moments, that's something he'll have to grab on the field. He needs to identify that and possibly India got a bit complacent when they pick up to 5-6 early wickets. That's something that I'm sure he would've learnt from his experience in England," he continued.
Kumble also believes India will miss the services of all-rounder Hardik Pandya during the four-match Test series. Pandya is currently going through rehabilitation after sustaining a lower-back injury during the Asia Cup in Dubai in September.
"If you had Hardik Pandya in the team, then he gives you the cushion of being the fifth bowler, gives you 10-15 overs, possibly a couple of wickets. So that's the advantage of a Hardik Pandya. He can bat at seven and give you runs as well, so that's the disadvantage that India is going with," he opined.
When asked to predict the outcome of the Test series, Kumble tipped the visitors to to win the series 2-1.