Clarke wary of spin threat
Michael Clarke is confident he and his team-mates will keep India's bowling attack quiet when the Test series begins.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 28/09/10 3:41pm
Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke is confident he and his team-mates will keep India's bowling attack quiet when the two-Test series gets under way.
India and Australia resume their burgeoning rivalry in Mohali on Friday as Ricky Ponting's men attempt to avenge their 2-0 series defeat in the sub-continent last time around.
The hosts' attack has been strengthened with the return of left-arm paceman Zaheer Khan, who was forced to miss the recent three-Test series in Sri Lanka due to injury.
But Clarke, who made scores of 44 and 23 in the recent warm-up match against an Indian Board President's XI, is confident he can adapt to the home conditions when play begins.
"Zaheer and Ishant Sharma are two very good bowlers of reverse swing. It can be very tough to combat at times and we have experienced that in the past," Clarke told reporters.
"But we've been training and batting against reverse swing and against spin too. Hopefully, come Friday, we'll be able to do well."
One man who enjoys taking on Australia is spin bowler Harbhajan Singh, however he is a doubt for the opening Test after injuring his calf in practice on Monday.
The off-spinner, who has taken 79 wickets in 14 Tests against the Aussies, was taken for scans with national selectors waiting for a further update before deciding whether to call up cover.
Nevertheless, Clarke expects the 30-year-old to play and is relishing the chance to pit himself against 'one of the best spinners in the world'.
"Every player plays spin differently. I think individually we all have a plan and it's all about trying to adapt to the pitch conditions and the bowler," said Clarke.
"I have a plan against the spinners and will try to stick to that. Hopefully, it works.
"I know how much he (Harbhajan) loves playing against Australia, so I'm pretty confident he will play.
"I will be very surprised if he doesn't play, so I am going to be preparing like he is going to. But of course, if he doesn't play it's a huge plus for us. He's a very good bowler and he has had a lot of success against Australia.
"He's always tough to face. He's always a great challenge and I really enjoy facing him because I think he is one of the best spinners in the world."
Clarke, who made a century on his Test debut against India in Bangalore back in 2004, admits he is looking to improve his consistency during the series.
"I think when I first started playing international cricket I wasn't nearly as consistent as I have been over the last 12 to 24 months," said Clarke, who has scored 4,514 runs in 62 Tests.
"That's one part of my game that has improved. I probably took more risks when I was younger, but consistency and shot-selection allow you to have success over a long period of time."