Clarke: Starc, Hazlewood will be key throughout India tour

“Starc and Hazlewood will need to take a lot of wickets to help Australia win this series”

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Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes that the pace duo of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood “will need to take a lot of wickets” if the Baggy Greens want to have a chance of winning their upcoming four-Test series in India.

Starc excelled with the ball in Australia’s last trip to the subcontinent as in the three-Test series against Sri Lanka in July-August last year, he finished with 24 wickets at a brilliant average of 15.16.

Hazlewood, on the other hand, was unable to have as much of an impact as he took just seven wickets in the series at an average of 32.71.

“Australia is predicting that spin is going to play a huge role. But I still think the quicks have a big role to play as well,” Clarke was quoted as saying by Cricket Australia’s website. “Starc and Hazlewood will need to take a lot of wickets to help Australia win this series.

“Natural swing with the brand new ball, and especially reserve swing, is going to be really important to the Australian team. Australia is going to need everybody to really perform if they want to beat India in their own backyard.”

While Starc and Hazlewood will have to put in the hard yards to claim their wickets in India as the SG ball doesn’t swing as much as the Kookaburra used Down Under, Clarke still doesn’t see any reason why Australia cannot pull off an incredible heist.

But, he admitted that tasting victory in India will be no easy feat, especially as the hosts have dominated in the longest format on home soil as of late as they whitewashed New Zealand 3-0 and followed that up with a 4-0 thrashing of England.

“India on the other hand will want to dominate, they will want to continue to show how good they are in their own backyard,” Clarke said. “Australia has beaten India at home, now India will want to make sure their dominance in their own backyard stays there.”

While Australia will be pushed to their limits in India, Clarke pointed out that the tour will be a perfect opportunity for players to make their mark and showcase what they have to offer.

“I think this Australia team is talented (but) we need to give these players some time to play around the world in different countries, learn, adapt, improve, get better, to see how talented they are,” he added. “As selectors, all they can really do is pick who they feel are the best players and then give them the opportunity, and I think that’s what they’ve done.

“This series is going to be a really good eye opener for the players that have never played Test cricket in India, but also for their understanding of how you do face different conditions all around the world.”

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