World Cup-winning former Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore Thursday subscribed to the general view that India have a good chance of winning a maiden Test series in Australia, in the absence Steve Smith and David Warner. Currently playing a three-match T20Is, India begin the four-Test series in Adelaide from December 6. “India have got a very good chance, particularly with Smith and Warner not around,” the Sri Lankan-born Australian, who is here as the coach of Kerala, told reporters after a nine-wicket win over Bengal at Eden Gardens. Also Read - Kuldeep Yadav Reveals Virat Kohli’s 'Best Quality', Says Learnt How to Manage Difficult Situations From Indian Skipper
“I agree with one or two articles that I read on the subject which said that India can be victorious in Australia this time.” Having seen Bengal’s Mohammed Shami from close quarters during the match, the 64-year-old said the India pacer was in good shape. Also Read - Bangladesh ODI Captain Tamim Iqbal Was 'Ashamed Of Himself' After Seeing Virat Kohli's Fitness Levels
“He is in good shape going to Australia. He is a good bowler. He will do okay in Australia,” Whatmore who coached Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the IPL said. Also Read - Mohammed Shami Confident of Getting Reverse Swing Despite Saliva Ban in Cricket Due to COVID-19
India were optimistic when they toured South Africa and England earlier this year. But despite all the promise and hard work, Virat Kohli’s team ended up on the losing side in both engagements. While they lost 1-2 against the Proteas, India were thrashed 1-4 by the Englishmen.
“Look, I won’t be telling (head coach) Ravi Shastri or (captain) Kohli how to do the job. But maybe, they will be better prepared this time. The experience of the previous two overseas tours will certainly help. They will be feeling good,” Whatmore said.
Lavishing praise on the Indian skipper, he said: “The Virat Kohli factor is very much there, he is the batsman around whom the team revolves. He is very positive and that rubs off.” Whatmore also insisted that the Aussies can’t be underestimated.
“You can’t underestimate Australia, particularly if all their fast bowlers are fit and healthy.” Having started as underdogs, Kerala overwhelmed Bengal by nine wickets in a match that lasted just three days.
“To be very honest I didnt think this kind of result before the game. But as the game went along I thought there was a chance.
“The way the batted in the morning I think it was going to go deep into the fourth day. But then cricket is a really funny game. Five-six wickets in the middle session ensured a three-day match,” Whatmore said.
Kerala all-rounder Jalaj Saxena, who opens the batting, came up with his second Man-of-the-Match performance with a 143 in the first innings.
“I can tell you he’s a wonderful competitor. He’s hugely responsible for a number of wins for Kerala. We are trying to create a healthy environment for performance,” he hailed Saxena.
Bengal however still have it in them to make the next round, Whatmore said. “They still are a good team. I’m expecting them to still make the playoffs,” Whatmore concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)