Watson wants a close contest with India

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/w/watson.jpg' class='caption'> Australian all-rounder Shane Watson believes the Test series with India will be closely fought despite the fact that his side has some uncapped players.

Updated: September 28, 2008 09:32 IST
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The Sydney fiasco might be still afresh in the minds of cricketing fraternity, but all-rounder Shane Watson on Thursday said he would look forward to a contest like that in the upcoming four-match Test series against India beginning October 9, not for the monkey-gate incident but for the closely-fought affair.

"The rivalry between India and Australia has become so intense in recent years. It has become the biggest challenge for Australian cricketers to play and win a series against India. It was amazing for a Test match to be decided in the last 20 minutes of the fifth day," he said referring to the Sydney Test earlier this year though without mentioning it by name.

Indian lower order batsmen had failed to negotiate Australian bowlers in the last 30 minutes of the second Test which was remembered more for the monkey-gate scandal than for the on-field intensity.

"I hope this series will have intense competitions like that which go down the wire," he said.

Asked why the Australians, known for playing mind games before important series, has been quite and calm in the build up to the India tour, Watson said it was not a conscious strategy.

"Not sure. The calm atmosphere is a part of team strategy. We are focused and looking forward to the series, strategising and formulating our game plan. For every one of us it is the biggest test to play and win a series in India physically, mentally and technically," Watson said after his team's three-hour practice session at the Rajasthan Cricket Associations' Future Cricket Academy grounds.

Watson would not pass judgement whether their rivalry with India has surpassed the Ashes, saying the two competitions are played on totally different conditions.

"The rivalry with India has become really big but both this and the Ashes are different challenges. The English conditions are totally different while the pitches in India are slow and low and conditions are really demanding for a cricketer."

The 27-year all-rounder has not played any Test in India but considers himself fortunate to have featured in the inaugural Indian Premier League where he was the man-of-the-series.

"I am not fortunate enough till now to play a Test in India though I hope I will play this time. But I am fortunate to have played in the IPL. I have played some cricket in different Test grounds in India during the IPL and that should give me confidence," he said.

Watson conceded that his side was inexperienced as compared to earlier teams that toured India but the current players could turn it to their advantage.

"It is an inexperienced team but all the guys are taking it as a challenge and they want to prove that they can win a series against an experienced India team in India despite being rookies," he said.

On his own role in the team, Watson sees himself being used in short spells as impact bowler, break partnerships and prop up the batting in the lower middle-order.

"I see myself bowling in short spells, breaking partnerships and propping up the batting. That suits my game," said Watson, who has played only three Test so far in his career, the last being in 2005.

Watson does not feel any pressure on him though he made it to the Australian team after fellow all-rounder Andrew Symonds was dropped on disciplinary grounds.

"I am not under any pressure. My only focus is to do well in India if given a chance. This is a big challenge and I hope I will be able to face the challenge," he said.

"Fortunately, I am in the best physical conditions of my career." he added.

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