Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hussey: India will miss Zaheer

Australian vice-captain Michael Hussey said India will miss the services of pacer Zaheer Khan in the upcoming ODI series.
However, Hussey said the hosts still have a potent bowling attack that cannot be underestimated.

Zaheer has not been included in the Indian squad for the first two ODIs as he is recuperating from a surgery after injuring his shoulder during the second Indian Premier League in South Africa earlier this year.

"The last time we were here (for the Test series) Zaheer Khan was a crucial bowler for the Indians and his absence will be a big loss to their attack," Hussey said on the eve of opening encounter of the series.

"Ishant Sharma still looks a wonderful bowler to me, he is always a difficult customer. I have not faced the other quickies much while we were here but they have a very good bowling attack and it will be wrong to underestimate them," he said.

"They have some fine bowlers who bowl well in Indian conditions," he pointed out.

Even though Hussey praised the Indian spin attack, he hoped the Aussies would be able to put pressure on the hosts to come out triumphant in the series.

"It's wrong to underestimate the Indian spinners. Harbhajan Singh has an amazing record and has played some brilliant games for long. (Amit) Mishra is a very good spinner as well. Hopefully, we can put all their bowlers and batsmen under pressure and we can come out on top," he said.

The left-handed Australian batsman whose career got off to a sensational start before hitting a plateau, agreed with India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's view that the length of the series would provide the teams an opportunity to bounce back.

"I agree (with Dhoni's view). The more matches, the more chances you have to get back into the series if we get off to a bad start," Hussey said.

He also stressed on the importance of gaining a momentum in the series, which, he felt, both teams would strive for.

"Both teams play well with momentum. Once the Indians get confidence and momentum, they can be very difficult to stop.

"It is similar with Australia. Once we get momentum and confidence we are a difficult team to stop as well. The first few games are going to be crucial. But if things don't go right there's still time to try and catch up in the series," he elaborated.

Hussey also agreed with Dhoni that the visitors too were not motivated by the ICC rankings.

"We are not really motivated by rankings. It is nice to be the No. 1 team in the world, but we don't study the rankings so much. Our focus is to try and win the series against India.

"India in India is one of the toughest challenges for an Australian. We are looking forward to just playing here and trying to win the series without concentrating on the rankings," he added.

The 34-year-old left-hander also said that he was not all concerned about reports back home that he is in danger of losing his place in the Australian Test side.

"I saw the headline and to be honest I can't be concerned about that right now. We have seven ODIs here to worry about now. I am sure the selectors would be looking at every player's form, not just mine, before they take a decision on the first Test (team composition)," Hussey said.

"I would like to make as many runs as I can. A good show with the bat will definitely help when it comes to team selection," he added.

On their return home from India, Australia will host the West Indies for three Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals starting November 26.

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