Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha slams former Aussie greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath for criticising India's 'weak' bowling attack
Australians bowling legends Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne have initiated the mind games on India. Both have been critical of the visitors' young pace-attack that includes five first-time visitors in R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Pragyan Ojha, Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun. But India are not retorting just yet.
Pragyan Ojha bowls on Day One of the first warm-up match against
Cricket Australia Chairman's XI at Manuka Oval in Canberra on December
15. Pic/Getty Images
McGrath had also predicted a five-nil scoreline for the Australians ahead of the 2009 Ashes series. The Indians have been here before and know what it's like. Their think-tank of Duncan Fletcher and Mahendra Singh Dhoni is too wise to be perturbed.
"England just beat them (India) four-nil. They have got some wonderful batting and all that sort of stuff but I think their bowling is a bit weak. And if Zaheer Khan or Ishant Sharma goes down with injury then it should be a good time for the Australian batters," Warne said a few days ago.
McGrath felt that India would have to bowl well to compete with the hosts: "They lack a little bit in the bowling. They're going to have to bowl well to compete with us. It will be interesting to see how they go out here. I saw them play England earlier this year and it was a fairly one-sided contest."
Bowling coach Eric Simons laughed it off when MiD DAY told him about McGrath's comments. Even Ed Cowan, set to make his Test debut at MCG, questioned an Indian attack without Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma -- just an hour after watching the duo bowl at Manuka Oval yesterday. "Zaheer is a great competitor, a proven performer. I am not sure how fit (Ishant) Sharma is. It's a big risk for them if they both break down during the series. Their spinners are good, but Aussie conditions are different," he said after making Australia's 13-man squad for the first Test match.
India spinner Pragyan Ojha said his team was ready to let the cricket do the talking. "What Warne and McGrath have said doesn't matter to us. It is their point-of-view. The best possible thing for us is that we are all bowling well and prepared for the series. Once we start playing, we will show them how good we are. We believe in our strengths. They (Warne and McGrath) have all the right to say whatever they want to, it doesn't matter to us," the left-armer said after the second warm-up tie.
Ojha was puzzled with everyone questioning the fitness of Ishant and Zaheer. "I don't know why there's any talk of injuries. Ishant is very fit, he was always fit. Both he and Zak bhai (Zaheer) are taking their own time, and choosing when to bowl (during the warm-up games). We don't want to pressurise our main bowlers before a big Test series," he said.