Former England opener Mark Butcher believes that India has a great opportunity to shed off their image as a team that only wins in Asia by winning the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia, saying this Test series victory would be absolutely huge and remove all doubts about their overseas status.
Indian Cricket Team led by Virat Kohli has not lost a home Test series since late 2012, but has been struggling out of Asian conditions, beaten 2-1 in South Africa and 4-1 in England this year alone.
The ongoing four-match Test Series Down Under in Australia will be the last opportunity for the Men in Green in 2018 to match their formidable home form overseas and show why they are the world's top-ranked side in the longest format of the game.
However, India has already taken a firm step towards the quest of their first Test series victory in Australia by winning the opening Test in Adelaide by 31 runs.
Butcher told Reuters on Thursday (December 13), “India are already the number one side in the world and the one thing that they still have to prove to everybody is that they can win away from home. They had a chance to do it in South Africa, couldn't manage it. The scoreline in England perhaps was a little bit flattering to England but still, they lost 4-1.”
The Englishman, who is a panellist for broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks, continued, “They still have to get that monkey off their back of not being able to win away from home, outside of the subcontinent. This would be absolutely huge and they will be undisputedly the best side in the world if they do it.”
The second Test of the series is going to be played on the fast and bouncy wicket in Perth and Butcher believes that the toss will play a key role in the match result.
However, he admitted that Australian side is not the same side that they were in the 90s but they are still dangerous and it is going to be tough for India to win the Test series on the Kangaroos soil.
Former opener noted, “They got four very, very good bowlers in their side. It's a fabulous bowling attack but at the moment they are struggling with batting. You put in Steve Smith and David Warner in that team and they are a bloody good side again. But certainly, this team at the moment isn't a patch on the teams I have played against in the 90s and the early 2000s. That's the way it is sometimes. You take Kohli and Pujara out of the Indian side, they are not going to find things quite so easy.”
Butcher signed off by saying, “It's not going to be a cakewalk. India might win the series but it's not going to be easy. The toss on Friday is going to be hugely important. On this pitch, they have never played a test match before. I have seen in the one-day internationals there's a lot of pace and lot of bounce. Both quick bowling attacks will enjoy bowling on it. One thing is for sure, it's going to be a fabulous series. India are a very, very good side. They do, indeed, stand their best chance of winning in Australia ever.”
(With Reuters Inputs)