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Play your natural game, advises Chappell

Harish Kotian | October 30, 2003 17:39 IST

It may sound like an obvious thing to state, but former Australia cricket captain Ian Chappell says there is only one way to win in Australia, and that is to play "extremely well".

Ian ChappellChappell, a veteran of 75 Tests who scored 5,345 runs at an average of 42.42 and is regarded one of Australia's greatest captains, was in Mumbai on Wednesday to announce the winners of the CEAT awards.

India's last tour of Australia in 1999-00 ended in disaster as the side led by Sachin Tendulkar was whitewashed in the three-Test series.

Discussing India's chances on their forthcoming tour of Australia starting December, Chappell said India has many players who have still to prove that they can play well in Australian conditions.

On the 1999-00 tour, only three Indian batsmen managed to get past the half-century mark in the three Tests. Tendulkar scored 278 runs at an average of 46.33, while V V S Laxman scored 221 runs at 36.83. The rest of the batting just wilted in the face of the Australian pace attack.

Asked if he had any specific advice for the Indian batsmen, Chappell said, "You got to know your own game, that's the important thing, and play the way you know best. It's no good me saying you shouldn't be playing this way, when that's not the player's natural way of playing.

"They just got to play naturally, adjust to different sets of conditions, and that's your best chance. The way you have become a good player, you have to keep playing in that same manner."

The Indian bowling attack too did not live up to potential on the last trip as the Aussie batsman found run-scoring none too difficult. Chappell said the Indian bowlers need to make adjustments Down Under. They cannot bowl the same line and length as they do on Indian pitches.

"It will be a different length in Australia," he said, "so it's not only the batsmen who have to make the adjustments, but also the bowlers."

Chappell, however, said the possible absence of Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath would not give the Indians the upper hand in the Test series. "The Australian team will still be a strong bowling attack," he said. "It will obviously be a diminished attack, but it will not be a bad attack."

Instead of worrying about the opposition attack, the Indians must play well against whoever is bowling, he advised.

As for the one Indian batsman who poses the greatest threat to Australia, Chappell has no doubt who that is. "Sachin Tendulkar!!"

Considering Tendulkar's record against Australia, 1,406 runs in 15 Test matches at an average of 54.07 with six centuries, it's hard to disagree with Chappell.

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