India paceman Zaheer Khan believes Ricky Ponting's poor batting record in India is affecting the Australian captain's confidence going into the high-profile four-Test series starting next month.
Ponting is one of seven batsmen to have scored over 10,000 Test runs but the 33-year-old right-hander averages just 12.28 in eight Tests in India.
Ponting last week said India start as favourites because they have more experienced players and Australia, the world's top-ranked side, are the underdogs.
"I was actually surprised by the statement made by him, for a captain who is leading the number one test side to say something like that definitely shows that there is a lot of pressure on him getting into the series," Zaheer told a news channel on Thursday.
"The reason can be that he hasn't scored many runs in India. That should definitely work to the advantage of us," the left-arm bowler added.
Australiaarrived on Monday ahead of schedule to spend a week acclimatising at the Rajasthan cricket academy.
Australia won a four-match series 2-1 on the previous tour in 2004 to record their first series victory in India in 35years.
Pointingplayed only the final test, which the hosts won, after missing the first three with a thumb injury.
Australia won an acrimonious four-test series 2-1against India at home early this year.
From the current squad only Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Simon Katich have test experience in India and the tourists are rebuilding following a series of high-profileretirements.
Zaheersaid Hayden's wicket would be the key. The powerful left-hander averages an impressive 61 in India, plundering 793 runs in seven tests.
"TheAustralian team definitely relies quite a lot on Hayden, especially when the tour India. It will be good to get him out early," Zaheer said.
Thefirst test starts in Bangalore on Oct. 9. The remaining tests are in Mohali, Delhi and Nagpur.