Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Dinesh Karthik believes it will be an uphill task for India to reach the World Test Championship (WTC) final for a second successive time despite the side being second on the points table
As of now, India are at the second position on the points table with 99 points and percentage of 58.93. India's next Test assignment will be a four-match series against Australia at home, starting from Nagpur on February 9.
If India win all four or even three matches, they will make it to the WTC final. "I think it is going to be a hard one. I really think it is going to be an uphill task for India. To win three out of four Tests is never easy.
That would mean playing to our strengths and assuming that Australia's weakness against spin will come through. But we have also seen the fact that they have not played against off spin very well.
So it is a catch 22 situation for India," Karthik was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz. Karthik, who has played 26 Tests for India, also feels that the batters have to find a way to counter the threat posed by premier Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
In the series against Bangladesh, which India won 2-0, many batters fell to bowling of left-arm spinners Shakib Al Hasan, Taijul Islam and off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz. "They have to find an aggressive way to tackle off spin.
The good thing is that Australia have just one spinner that they bank on. Whoever is the second spinner, whether it be Ashton Agar, Matthew Kuhnemann or Adam Zampa, it can be targeted by India," added Karthik.
He also remarked that India left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel will be more than handy on a spin-friendly pitch if it is prepared for Tests against Australia at home. "For the moment, we should bank on the fact that we have three quality spinners right now who on turning tracks will be a handful to deal with."
"Going with the fact that on a turning track, I would bank on Axar Patel lot more because of his height and natural variations he has got and that should keep India in good stead. But the Indian batters definitely need to step up."