India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. @ Getty Images
India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. @ Getty Images

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram reckons the upcoming four-match Test series against Australia will be bigger Test for Indian bowlers.

I think the Indian bowlers will have it tough. To start off, there are a couple of drop-in pitches in Adelaide, Melbourne, they are not bouncy tracks any more. Brisbane will have a little bit of bounce. I think at Perth they are playing in a new stadium, I don’t know what sort of pitch they have over there. I think whenever India, Pakistan or teams from the sub-continent tour in Australia, the batsmen also struggle but now with the batting tracks, Indian batting is very consistent, Akram was quoted as saying by NDTV on Monday.

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Virat Kohli is leading from the front as a batsman and as a captain. It’s the bowlers I’m worried about in Australia, the length where they bowl it, especially when the Kookaburra gets old after 20-25 overs, that’s when the Australians take advantage.

Akram, who has snapped a whopping 414 wickets in 104 Tests, was unable to pinpoint what would be the X-factor in the series.

I have seen in Australia that even James Anderson struggles. If you have 130-135 pace, the ball doesn’t swing. The SG balls swing and then they reverse swing, Duke swings in England all day long. But in Australia if you don’t have pace, you probably will struggle. However, you never know. It’s a new Australian side. It’s not the same Australian side we have seen in the last 30 years, he said.

It’s new. Australia are under pressure, they just got hammered by Pakistan here in the UAE, and they got hammered by South Africa in Australia, so India definitely have an edge there.

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Asked to compare whether the current team led by Virat Kohli is better equipped to handle pressure as compared to the Indian team he played against, Akram said: It’s difficult to compare, it’s impossible to compare from era to era. India produced so many great cricketers over the years and I have played against all of them. So, difficult to compare, but it will be a big test for them. With this young Indian side if they want to prove to the world that they are one of the best sides in the world, this is the tour.

Akram believes the Australia series will be a defining one for Kohli’s captaincy.

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Yeah, he’s got the best chance, inexperienced young Aussie side, go all out and of course if they get early wickets that’s where the struggle for the bowlers is. I just worry about bowlers from India, Pakistan when they go there (Australia), sometimes they get excited with the bounce on the pitches, especially at Brisbane. So, the idea is to pitch it up, don’t bowl short, short of length delivery, because they will be expecting that, he said.