ENG v IND 2018: Struggling Indian batsmen will fare much better in Australia, reckons Shane Watson

"You just can't land in England once every three years and be successful" - Watson.

Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have failed miserably in the England Test series | Getty

Even though Indian batting line-up is constantly failing in the ongoing Test series against England, former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson feels that the same batsmen will do much better on tour Down Under later this year.  

Except for Virat Kohli, who scored 544 runs in the series thus far and is the leading run-scorer from either side, and partially Cheteshwar Pujara (241 runs), none of the Indian batsmen have performed to their potential. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul have performed miserably till now, scoring 158 and 113 runs respectively as England have taken an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series.

"It is not easy to play swing bowling. Trust me when Australia travel to England for Ashes next year, it won't be easy for them also. England is the only place where the ball swings that much primarily due to conditions. You just can't land in England once every three years and be successful," Watson told PTI.

"Look, if you check records, Indian batsmen of late have done well in Australia. Virat has scored loads of runs and I remember a fine century by (KL) Rahul at the SCG. Even Rahane scored a few runs. In Australia, the kookaburra will stop swinging after first 10 or may be 15 overs unlike Dukes which can swing all day. I don't think bounce would be that much of a problem," he added.

Considering the performances of travelling teams in recent times, Watson feels the criticism of Indian batsmen is a bit over the top.

"I don't think any international team is playing swing bowling well these days and that is reflective in the performance on overseas performance," said Watson.

However, Indians batsmen failed to counter Moeen Ali’s spin in the third Test at Southampton. Moeen finished the match with 9 wickets to his name. The off-spinner had bamboozled the Indian batting line-up in the first innings, scalping 5 for 63 and he followed it up with 4 for 71 in the second essay.

Watson though defended the Indian batsmen, saying a quality spinner will always be difficult to tackle.

"Look at Shane Warne's track record. He got wickets all around the world and knew how to bowl on Day 4 and 5 tracks. Ditto for Lyon or Moeen, who know how to make best use of fourth and fifth day track," he remarked.

Watson, who played 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for his country, also named the key players for Australia in the absence of their banned skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner.

"The biggest challenge for Australia will be to post big scores in the absence of Warner and Smith. These two were instrumental in Australia getting big scores. Like Tim Paine is a capable man of leading Australia. He has the requisite leadership qualities but I am more concerned about the batting than captaincy," he asserted.

"Usman Khawaja is a phenomenal player and I believe now he will be given a long rope. I am hoping that he will do well and expect him to take a lot of responsibility. He has just scored a fine hundred against India A (in Bengaluru). Apart from Usman, I would love to see Shaun and Mitch Marsh do well against India," Watson concluded.


By Salman Anjum - 04 Sep, 2018

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