Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra believes that the chances of the Rohit Sharma-led side taking 20 wickets on a regular basis during the four-match series against Australia are higher than that of the visitors', citing the absence of key bowlers in the line-up of Pat Cummins & Co.
After playing the first Test at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, Nagpur, India and Australia will play the next three Tests in New Delhi (February 17-21), Dharamshala (March 1-5) and Ahmedabad (March 9-13).
India are the current holders of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the last three series against Australia in 2017, 2018-19 and 2020-21. Australia, on the other hand, last won a Test series in India in 2004.
Australia go into the Nagpur Test without Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green due to injuries. "The chances of taking 20 wickets on a regular basis are a lot higher for us than for Australia; there is no doubt.
If you see Australia's bowling lineup, you will realise that there is no power in bowling." "I'll tell you why Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are not available for the first match, and we also heard that Cameron Green is not available either.
So Scott Boland can be seen with Pat Cummins, whereas Boland hasn't played the away series till now. So let's see how he performs," said Chopra on JioCinema's new daily sports show #Aakashvani'
Australia have their premier off-spinner Nathan Lyon, but there is a three-way battle for the second spinner spot between left-arm spinner Ashton Agar, leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson and uncapped off-spinner Todd Murphy.
"When it comes to spin, Nathan Lyon is the only one, and apart from him, there's no other spin bowler who can scare us. Swepson is there, who especially bowls slow leg spin.
There's also Ashton Agar, who didn't have much success in Test cricket. I'm very happy that you haven't brought Adam Zampa, because he could have troubled us, and apart from him, you don't have a bowler who can take 20 wickets," added Chopra.
Chopra further asked Pragyan Ojha, RP Singh and Abhinav Mukund about their prediction and top players to watch out for in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
"Virat Kohli. This is Virat Kohli's year. Without a doubt, Jadeja will be the top wicket-taker. It will be a whitewash. India will win every game," said Ojha, former India left-arm spinner.
Singh, the ex-India left-arm pacer, said, "Virat Kohli will be the top scorer. R Ashwin will take the most wickets, and India will win the series by 3-1."
Mukund, who was in India's squad when they won 2-1 against Australia at home in 2017, thinks the Indian spinners will mainly call the shots, but predicted Steve Smith to have a top time in the series with the bat.
"He (Smith) has a great record against India. I think it should be him who gets a lot of runs; otherwise, I don't think anything will go right for Australia.
Because there are too many left-handers, Ashwin will take the majority of the wickets," he said. "Ashwin has arrived well-prepared; I believe Jadeja will put up a good fight, but Ashwin will take the majority of the wickets.
I think it will be 3-0, and I don't think Australia will win even one test; if they are lucky, they might end up winning just one test," he added.