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'Ishant will be the leader of bowling department'

By Manu Shankar
Last updated on: November 19, 2014 21:23 IST
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‘Young bowlers are improving with each series’

‘Chance for Virat Kohli to step in and lead the team’

‘Australia’s bowling attack doesn’t look as lethal as it was’

Team India manager Arshad Ayub, speaking exclusively to Rediff.com's Manu Shankar, says he won’t be surprised if India does well on the upcoming tour of Australia.

Ishant Sharma

India pacer Ishant Sharma. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Terming the current Indian team 'better to the one that toured England' earlier this year, former off-spinner and Team India manager Arshad Ayub said he won’t be surprised if India does well on the upcoming tour of Australia.

"I believe this team is coping up better than the one that toured England.

“It will be a tough tour, but recent results have given India a lot of confidence going into the Test series,” he said.

The team will leave for Australia on November 21 and begin the tour with a warm-up match in Adelaide on the 24th.

The first Test starts in Brisbane on December 4. Following the four-Test series, India will play a limited-overs' tri-series, involving England and the home side.

Earlier this year, England thrashed India in the Test series, winning it 3-1, but Ayub feels that showing will have little bearing on the Tests Down Under.

Despite India’s bowling struggling to take 20 wickets on helpful tracks in England, he is of the view that the inexperienced attack is improving with each series.

“Our young bowlers are improving with each series. Ishant (Sharma) will be the leader of the bowling department, and if you look at others – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammad Shami -- they have been pretty consistent with the ball.

“What’s important is to play positive cricket, as only then can you survive in the pressure situations,” said Ayub.

‘Kohli is an aggressive skipper’

Virat Kohli

India batsman Virat Kohli. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

With regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni forced to miss the the first Test because of injury, Virat Kohli will lead the team.

“Of course, Dhoni’s experience as a skipper and batsman will be missed, but Virat is a good choice.

“He has done well in Australia and is an aggressive skipper. He leads from the front and it’s an ideal replacement,” the 56-year-old added.

Dhoni, who is nursing a thumb injury, has been rested for the first Test as a precautionary measure to ensure optimum recovery.

In his absence, Wriddhiman Saha is expected to keep wickets in Brisbane.

Ayub, who played 13 Tests for India, felt the team can gain from the fact that the Australians are struggling at the moment.

“They were recently thrashed by Pakistan and their bowling attack, barring Mitchell Johnson, doesn’t look as lethal as it was. Their batting depends a lot on Michael Clarke and there are question marks over his fitness as well,” said Ayub.

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