Mumbai: Stand-in Australian captain Adam Gilchrist today said his team was better prepared to meet the stiff challenge posed by India in their own backyard this time and promised a lot of excitement in the four-Test series commencing at Bangalore on October 6. "A lot of water has flown under the bridge since that series in 2001 (which Australia lost 1-2). We have played a lot of cricket all over the world. The visit to Sri Lanka (last year) is significant. We played the spinners very well there. We are much better prepared mentally and cricketwise," Gilchrist told reporters at the team hotel here. The majority of the Australian team members, including Gilchrist and coach John Buchanan, arrived here early this morning from England after ending their campaign in the ICC Champions Trophy. Injury worries The flashy wicketkeeper-batsman said both teams would be hit hard in the likely absence through injuries of Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar for at least part of the rubber. "I don't know the status about Sachin's injury, but India would certainly miss him. We too would miss Ponting, but we are used to missing players due to injuries," Gilchrist said. "But the series would not diminish one bit in the likely absence of any player. This rivalry between India and Australia has developed into an iconic one. The series would be exciting for the fans," he said. Ponting had to return to Australia for treating his fractured left thumb after sustaining the injury in the semi-final loss to England. Tendulkar has been out of cricket after the Asia Cup in July due to an elbow injury.Intense rivalryHighlighting the intense rivalry between India and Australia, who would be fighting it out for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Gilchrist said both teams had played competitive cricket in each other's soil over the last two series. "India and Australia have played a lot against each other recently. We were competitive in 2001, but did not get the desired result. India were competitive last year in Australia. But this cannot be compared to the Ashes series (Australia v England). Each series has its own identity," he pointed out. The 34-year-old swashbuckling batsman said he and some other players were distracted due to commercial and other commitments on the last visit and have decided to temper these down on the current tour. "There are huge opportunities in India off the field, not only for commercial purposes. There's a lot to see in India. I personally had too much on my plate in 2001. This time we have decided to temper our off the field activities," he said. Plans to remain unchangedHaving taken over the reins of captaincy unexpectedly from Ponting, Gilchrist said he aims to be in constant touch with the Tasmanian and carry out the plans as Ponting had desired before he had to return home. "I am not going to change anything, not try anything different from what Ricky had planned. I will be calling him and taking his inputs. Things will go as he had planned," he said. Gilchrist also said Shane Warne, who has not tasted much success against India, would be a major factor. "Warne is a major part of our strike force," he remarked about the ace leg spin bowler.
Topics : Cricket