Former Australia vice-captain Shane Watson urged groundsmen in his country to prepare fast and bouncy pitches when India come visiting Down Under for a full tour later in the year.
Watson, one of the premium all-rounders in world cricket, is set to make a comeback from a calf injury while the Australian Test team gets ready to take on Pakistan in a two-match series in the UAE. However, the Aussie team-management will be keen that the 33-year-old Queenslander gets back in shape sooner than later, ahead of what could be a challenging series against India.
Watson was part of the Australian side that was whitewashed in a four-Test series in India on turning pitches in 2013. Those contests were billed as revenge for the humiliation India had faced Down Under a year ago. Now Watson wants to exact the losses suffered in conditions that favoured MS Dhoni's men.
"They (India) have got a lot of world-class players, especially in their batting, but over here is a different challenge for them," Watson told Sydney radio station 2GB. "We are hopeful that the groundsmen are going to make the grounds very conducive to what we do [because] in India, they certainly make sure the conditions are favourable to them."
The series of 2013 understandably haunts Watson, more than his other Australian teammates. Besides the 4-0 drubbing, Watson and five other players were suspended for one match after failing to complete a presentation asked for by then coach Mickey Arthur. Famously named 'HomeworkGate', the suspension drew mixed reactions from several quarters. Watson had wanted to retire in protest but the birth of his child made him reconsider and he came back to the side in place of an injured Michael Clarke.
With the Australian team journeying its way back to the glory of its older days, coach Darren Lehmann would be eager to use Watson's massive experience. He has played 52 Tests so far, scoring 3408 runs despite batting in different positions through his career. He has also snared 69 wickets with a best of 6/33. Any team-management would be keen to have a fully-fit player of Watson's stature.
Meanwhile, Watson who has been relegated to number six in Test cricket, wants to bat again as an opener and insisted that was where he felt most comfortable: "I have had my best success opening in all formats. "I love going in knowing I can just take on the game and not worry about the consequences, which is when I am batting at my best."