Allan Border says he would have risked Pat Cummins in India.
Allan Border says he would have risked Pat Cummins in India. Morne de Klerk

Border worried about Aussie spinners in India

CRICKET: Champion Australian skipper Allan Border has laid bare the concerns of a nation when it comes to the spin-bowling options in the Test series in India.

Australia put a heavy emphasis on spin bowling leading into the four-Test series, which begins in Pune on Thursday, naming four specialist spinners and spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell in its 16-man squad.

This was a clear strategy to counter the types of pitches Australia expect to come up against throughout the series - slow, turning dustbowls.

But it hasn't won 'captain cranky' over - Border has no faith in Australia's spinners to deliver.

"I don't think we can beat them with spin," a frank Border told Sky Sports Radio on Wednesday morning.

"That's just me".

Australia's only success since 1969 was built around the brilliance of Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath, rather than that of the greatest leggie of all-time Shane Warne.

Border again would've plumped for raw pace if given the option, and says Australia missed a trick by leaving lively speedster Pat Cummins at home.

"I would've taken a risk on taking Pat Cummins over there with the potential of just hitting them with an all-out pace attack, with some spin - either Steve O'Keefe or Nathan Lyon, with Maxwell providing back-up," Border explained.

"If the ball starts spinning over there those two guys, O'Keefe and Lyon, could do the job for us but I think we're more likely to beat them with pace."

Border's grim assessment of Australia's attack didn't stop there.

"It's not a really scary bowling attack apart from Mitchell Starc is it?" he asked.

"(Josh) Hazlewood will do a really good job but conditions will nullify him so unless there is some swing over there, he comes back to the field very quickly in those conditions."

The top of the order is more settled, however, with Border backing Matthew Renshaw to hold onto his spot opening the batting alongside vice-captain David Warner.

Renshaw hit a career-best 184 against Pakistan in his most recent Test knock, but has been under pressure from both Shaun Marsh and Usman Khawaja ahead of the first Test.

It appears Marsh has locked in a spot in the middle order, while Khawaja looks set to miss out altogether.

Border believes it's the right decision to back the 20-year-old Renshaw, and has called on captain Steve Smith to be pushed up the order to No.3.

"How else are you going to learn how to play in those sort of conditions?" he asked.

"You get thrown into the deep end. He deserves to be there. He's the incumbent opener and he's performed very, very well.

"I'd get (Steve Smith) in as early as possible. He's our key man so he might as well bat at three and hopefully he can steer the innings from that point."

News Corp Australia


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