Australia can match 2004 India Test success: Brad Hodge

As a member of the most recent Australian Test squad to win in India, Brad Hodge is finding it difficult to separate the current crop from that famous 2004 team.

But the 48-year-old warns that winning in India will be “as tough as it gets” for a side closing in on cementing its legacy.

The final members of Australia’s Test squad fly out to India on Wednesday, where four Tests in difficult conditions await.

The International Cricket Council ranks Australia as the best Test nation in the world and Pat Cummins’ side has rarely been challenged on home soil during the last two summers.

Australia won their series in Pakistan last year before drawing in Sri Lanka but triumphing in India would hoist the current group into the pantheon of great Australian teams.

Since the 1970s, only one other Australian side has claimed a series victory in India.

Hodge was a member of that 2004 squad, which also featured Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath and Test debutant Michael Clarke.

“That was a pretty special team, one of the best that’s ever taken the field for Australia,” Hodge, who did not make his Test debut until the summer after that series, told AAP.

Asked to determine the difference between the current group and the 2004 side, he had a simple answer.

“Not a lot,” he said. “They can do it, this current group, they just have to believe and have a little bit of luck.

“But it’ll be a challenge, no doubt about it.

“Whenever you travel offshore, any Test you play is tough. But this is as tough as it gets.”

With his BBL broadcasting duties nearly over for another season, Hodge is spending the rest of the summer campaigning for the Cancer Council to encourage Australians to be sun smart.

He said the only thing separating Australia and India, ranked second by the ICC, was confidence in their spinners.

Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are established spinners with almost 150 Tests between them, though the latter is still racing the clock to recover from a back injury for the first Test.

While Nathan Lyon is a lock for selection, there is no clear favourite to partner him if the tourists are looking to take two spinners in.

The remaining frontline tweakers Mitch Swepson, Ashton Agar and uncapped Todd Murphy have played a combined total of nine Tests.

“They’ve got complete confidence in their spin department,” Hodge said.

“Australia is probably not as confident as where the Indian group are at. Other than that, the teams stack up fairly evenly.

“Our bowling is as good as anyone and our batting has been on fire all summer.

“We’ve got some very good players of spin and we’ll be ultra-competitive. It’s just whether we can last a full tour.”


Jasper Bruce
(Australian Associated Press)


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