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India should challenge the Aussies: Atherton

November 23, 2003 19:37 IST

Former England captain Michael Atherton today cautioned India to be prepared for a 'tough cricket tour' Down Under but urged the team, led by Sourav Ganguly, to be aggressive and throw a 'good challenge' to the mighty Aussies.

Atherton candidly confessed to not being very successful on Australian soil and described the Aussies as a "very competitive side, hard to beat in their backyard".

But India, having a lot of quality cricketers in their ranks, must adopt a positive attitude, be aggressive and should throw at least a "good challenge" if not win the matches, the former England opener said.

The role of Indian openers, in this context, would be vital to shape up the innings in the Test matches, failing which the Australian pace battery would create havoc on the bouncy wickets, particularly in Perth and Brisbane, he said.

With the pacers expected to rule, absence of spin wizard Shane Warne would not really be felt, Atherton said. "Warne, in fact had not really done well against India".

Asked if absence of veteran speedstar Javagal Srinath, who announced his retirement just before the Australian tour, would be felt, he said youngsters like Ashish Nehra and Zaheer Khan should perform well to make up for his absence.

Commenting on England's poor show against Sri Lanka in the first one day international match at Dambula, he said the English line up was decent but had limited experience.

Atherton, who was in Kolkata on the occasion of the Heritage Consular Golf tournament at Tollygunge Club, also praised England captain Michael Vaughan. "He has a good head on his shoulder but needs time to settle down".

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