Quick bowlers still key in India says Clarke

14 February 2017

Starc leaps into action during Australia's warm-up sessions // cricket.com.au

Ex-Australia skipper Michael Clarke says despite focus on slow bowlers it will be the Australian quicks who can do most damage

Former captain Michael Clarke says Australia's greatest chance of overcoming India in the four Test series starting next week lies with the fast bowlers.

And Clarke warned successor Steve Smith the Indians would be keen to exert their dominance and inflict the sort of pain touring Indian sides have suffered on Australian shores for generations.

Clarke's career was dominated by milestones against India – his first-class debut was against a touring Indian XI, his Test debut came in Banglaore in 2004, yielding his first Test hundred, and his highest Test score of 329 not out came against India in the 2012 New Year's Test.

From the Vault: Clarke's record-breaking 329*

And the 35-year-old says with a core of young inexperienced players, it must be the senior members of the touring party who stand up, with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood the keys.

"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 said on a Facebook live chat.

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

Quick Single: Mild start to a heated rivalry

"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."

Starc set sights on India challenge

Clarke said he was "hopeful" of an Australian series win but cautioned "worst case, they have to compete with this India team".

"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."

And while much will rely on Australia's senior players, Clarke said patience must be shown to others.

Smith, Lehmann meet press on touchdown

"It's hard to expect players to walk straight onto the big stage and perform, especially in conditions that are different to what you're accustomed to," Clarke said.

"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.

"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.

"The selectors have gone with a core group of players they feel are the best in the Australian system, and now they've got to have the courage to stick with them and give them a chance.

"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."

Test Squads

India (for first two Tests): Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Karun Nair, Jayant Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Abhinav Mukund, Hardik Pandya.

Australia: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Ashton Agar, Jackson Bird, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Stephen O'Keefe, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade

Australia's schedule in India

Feb 17-19, Tour match v India A, Mumbai

Feb 23-27, First Test, Pune

Mar 4-8, Second Test, Bengaluru

Mar 16-20, Third Test, Ranchi

Mar 25-29, Fourth Test, Dharamsala

About the Writer

 @Dave_Middleton
@Dave_Middleton

Dave Middleton is cricket.com.au's senior news editor. From Queensland, he spent 10 years in the UK where he wrote for The Times, The Sunday Times, the Guardian and The Telegraph.