India’s strong bowling attack should give them hope in Aus: Atherton

Former England captain Mike Atherton feels India can be hopeful of doing well in Australia riding their bowling attack which has a lot of depth.

The Virat Kohli-led side are expected to tour Down Under later this year. The four Tests of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be played at Gabba, Adelaide Oval, MCG and the SCG respectively starting December 3.

“What really should give India hope Down Under is the strength of the bowling attack. It is very difficult to win in Australia without a strong seam bowling attack,” Atherton said on Sony Network for their show Pit Stop on their Facebook page.

“And one of the great things in the last few years about Indian cricket is the sea change in terms of the quality of fast bowlers you have produced. If I go back and think of when I played in India in 1993, it was completely spin based. There were good fast bowlers then too but I don’t think the number and depth that you have now…and it shows that teams can change their style and I think going Down Under that would be the biggest reason for hope,” said the 52-year old.

Atherton also heaped praise on Rohit Sharma, saying he thinks the ace India opener will be successful in red-ball cricket overseas. Rohit, regarded as one of the greatest white-ball batsmen in the modern era, is yet to be tested on the road in Test cricket as an opener.

“He just looks such a good player that you think success will come (in Tests),” said the former opener.

“One thing I enjoy about Indian batting is that they look very natural to me and not over coached, forced. I was chatting to Rahul Dravid about this in relation to the Indian U-19 team compared to the England U-19 team. I was asking him why he felt Indian players looked more natural than England’s at that level. He thought it was to do with the fact that India’s cricketers get all year round play. Because of the weather in England a lot of English players spend 6 months indoors and on bowling machines and it can look a bit forced after that. He felt a lot of Indian batsmen were learning in play rather than being coached,” he added.

Atherton also said Indian opening may not be the strongest element of the team but the likes of Rohit, Mayank Agarwal look good at the top of the order.

“I would have thought (opening) may not be the strongest element of the team but it is not a weak element of the team. And then you got back up openers like Prithvi Shaw and KL Rahul. Seems to me you are pretty well placed wherever you look. And Pujara is a fabulous player.

“That top of the order is so important in Australia. Because if you can have a solid successful start there…as soon as that Kookaburra ball loses its shine you can have some lovely batting conditions.”