CHENNAI: Brad Hogg shares a close bond with India. Not only he made his Test debut here, but has gone on to represent both Australia and IPL franchises over the years.
In a chat with the TOI on Tuesday, the 46-year-old chinaman spoke on the upcoming Australia tour of India, Steve O’Keefe’s role in the team, emergence of Kuldeep Yadav and more. Excerpts:
How do you assess this Australia outfit going in to the series against India?
I hope the series is well-fought and exciting. I hope Australia adapt to the Indian conditions fast. Our batsmen have struggled against spin the two occasions we were there. Hopefully they have done their homework in the UAE and worked hard on turning pitches and are able to play well against this high-quality Indian attack. The good thing about this Australian team is that we have players who have played in Indian conditions. We have a couple of guys who have played there during the Australia ‘A’ tour in 2015 and some have been part of the IPL too. After playing the IPL they can now gauge the wickets, the way it behaves and those things do come handy. Also, some of our spinners spent time in Sri Lanka last year and I think that’s a good grounding for them.
What’s your take on the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja who are in the midst of a golden run?
Ashwin and Jadeja are probably the best spin duo in world at the moment. Ashwin has got the height and uses it to get the bounce and his line and lengths are always spot on. Jadeja, on most conditions, is lethal because he doesn’t give much away. One key factor in the success of the duo is that they are relentless and their intensity never goes down over prolonged periods. Even when things aren’t going their way, the two find their way to get wickets. The way they are bowling at home, those are conditions that are conducive to their type of bowling.
How do you look at Steve O’Keefe role in the team?
I feel he bowls a lot like Jadeja, and could be someone who could be a handful against the Indian team. If you watched the India-Bangladesh Test in Hyderabad, left-arm spinner Taijul Islam bowled well and did trouble Virat Kohli’s side. I think O’Keefe is probably is our best bet (spin-wise) against this Indian line-up. He is a left-arm spinner and if you look at the top-7 of the Indian order – they all are right-hand batsmen. So, if he can bowl like Taijul, attack the stumps, then he would be the most dangerous weapon among our spinners.
Having played a lot in India, what according to you is the right length on these wickets?
In India, you need to bowl a little bit quicker than what we are used to on Australian wickets. So, I think you would probably see the Australian spinners bowl a bit quicker.
How crucial will the role of Monty Panesar be as a spin consultant for the team?
The role of Monty or any coach – be it spin or pace – is to ensure bowlers are backing their plans against each batsmen. They have got to have plans A, B and C. I firmly believe Australia can make a mark if they adapt to the conditions thrown at them.
How do you look at the emergence of Kuldeep Yadav whom you have watched from close quarters during your stint with Kolkata Knight Riders?
Kuldeep is someone who has got the talent and we are going to see a lot of him in the coming years. He will definitely be one of the best chinaman bowlers to have graced the game in a long time. I was surprised that India went with three quicks and left Kuldeep out during the Bangladesh game. He has done exceptionally well in first-class cricket this season. I think he would definitely be a handful for the Australians if he gets a game.