JP Duminy. Pic/AFP
Playing at home, India will go into the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as favourites but former South African JP Duminy says Australia could trump the hosts 2-1 in the much anticipated Test rubber. India will be without two of its key players in Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah, but premier all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja will be back to the action after a knee surgery. The Test series will begin on Thursday in Nagpur. "I see it as a very close series, but I genuinely think that Australia stand a good chance. They certainly have been the team to beat," Duminy said during a virtual interaction, facilitated by SA T20, where he coaches Paarl Royals team.
"I feel it would be 2-1 to Australia and for me the Player-of-The-Series would be Usman Khawaja," he said of the Australian left-hander, who hit a career-best unbeaten 195 against South Africa in Sydney Test in January. Duminy was quick to add that one can never "write off" India in their home conditions. "You think about (Ravichandran) Ashwin who has a prolific Test record in India, he's probably going to be the key for them."
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"When it comes to Test cricket, you have got to utilise your resources. Guys like (Cheteshwar) Pujara, Virat Kohli who are prolific in Test cricket. They churn out runs after runs. It's an opportunity for those guys to step up. India's 'Mr 360', Suryakumar Yadav has been in sensational form in T20 format and is part of the Test squad. Asked whether he's primed for a Test debut, Duminy said: "Probably he's one of the most exciting players for India right now. From the way Test cricket is going, as a country you need to decide what is the line of cricket you would be playing. And if it's of the attacking mindset, then he becomes an option, certainly."
There has already been a debate over whether India play to their strength and prepare rank-turners for the upcoming four-Test series. Duminy feels it's absolutely fair to play to your advantage. "That's the beauty of having a home series. You have the opportunity to play to your advantage. Why would you not. It would be silly to think that you would not want to utilise that (rank-turners) in your favour. "I certainly see that will be the case in the series. Whenever you travel to the Sub-continent that's always something you face. You need to be able to prepare for that. If you want to be the best in the world, you have to be able to perform in all conditions," he asserted.
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