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    'Ind-Aus a difficult series to predict'

    Jaspreet Sahni: Gilchrist speaks on what makes Australia versus India a riveting contest.

    New Delhi: Needless to say, the build-up to India's tour of Australia makes as much news as the tour itself. But those who have been part of the previous battles - such as the 2001 Kolkata Test - know that the moment one opponent gives an inch, the other will take a mile. Adam Gilchrist, arguably the best wicketkeeper-batsman to grace the game, is one such man who has seen the competition grow into a fearsome modern-day rivalry.

    Talking to Cricketnext during his visit to India recently, Gilchrist touched upon Harbhajan Singh's absence, injuries to the bowlers on both sides and what makes Australia versus India a riveting contest.

    On how the two teams shape up...

    "It's a series that's quite difficult to predict. Both are evenly-matched teams, more experienced in their batting line-ups than bowling line-ups. So it's going to be an intriguing series. I think whichever bowling line-up sustains the most and remains injury-free - that's been a big issue for both countries with the amount of injuries to their bowling line-ups - and whoever can have their full-strength bowling line-up on the park will probably go a long way to win the series. So it will be hard for me to separate the teams at the moment, but it will be great to watch."

    Harbhajan will be missed...

    "I have always found Harbhajan a wonderful guy to play cricket against. His fighting qualities are admirable. He never takes a backward step. Some may say that he has the qualities what Australian cricketers and sportspersons have. He will be missed in the series. You need characters and I'm sure the promoters would have loved for him to be down there and ramp that up."

    On team selection...

    "You've got to pick your team based on who's producing the goods at the time. There have been some selection issues for the Australian team and it seems so for the Indian team. And if any player does not warrant his place in the squad because of results, they are probably unlikely to be there."

    The new crop of Indian spinners...

    "[Praygan] Ojha and [Ravichandran] Ashwin seem to have come in and set quite high standards in terms of results and have done a very good job in the bowling department. So I guess Ashwin and Ojha have deserved their places."

    2001 turned it into a rivalry...

    "In 2001, I don't remember a huge hype or intensity about that series. It came right out of the blue. That was one of the best Test series ever. I don't think anyone was aware of what was around the corner at the start of that series. So that was part of the contributing factor of what is now a terrific rivalry between the two countries. But Australia and India have played a lot of cricket since then, and it's been fine."

    What makes a series against India so special?

    "Any series that India play in this day and age, given lots of technology and TV coverage, is always going to be an interesting one, one that a lot of people will follow because of the passion of the game throughout the world for Indian cricket."