In the four-test series beginning on February 9 in India, Australian batsman Matt Renshaw has acknowledged that spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will be among the hardest bowlers to face.
The Pat Cummins-led Australia's strategy against the Indian off-spinner, who made history in 2021 by becoming the first bowler to take 200 wickets of left-handers, is a major topic of discussion as the Border-Gavaskar series gets underway in Nagpur.
Aswhin could prove to be more than a handful for the visitors during the high-profile series because Australia's batting lineup is loaded with left-handers, including David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, wicketkeeper Alex Carey, and Renshaw himself.
"Facing Ashwin is difficult. The Australian Associated Press cited Renshaw, 26, as saying, "He is a smart bowler with a lot of variations and he uses them very well. But you do get used to him once you've faced him for a while.
The lbw threat is, in my opinion, the biggest threat from Ashwin and any off-spinner in spinning conditions to a left-hander.
Renshaw advised Australia to be cautious of Ashwin's delivery because it doesn't spin and frequently results in LBW dismissals.
The big one is the lbw when it doesn't spin, even though everyone naturally thinks about the one that turns and traps you at slip. Simply be prepared for that one.
"I believe that playing at No. 5 for two years helped me when facing spin. I am much more at ease in various situations now that I am much more familiar with my game, he continued.
Renshaw played in all but one of the four innings of the four Tests while the team was on its 2017 tour of India. In the first Test at Pune, Ashwin only got rid of him once, but not before Renshaw had reached the fifty-run mark.
However, the Australian, who would most likely be selected at No. 5 in the XI for the upcoming tour, was confident that his team would be a formidable opponent.
"It will be difficult to force my way in because our squad is strong, but I know that I will be ready if I do get a chance."
Renshaw said his Big Bash League (BBL) stint with Brisbane Heat was helping him prepare for the series as the side was packed with spinners.
Heat have the likes of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Kuhnemann and Marnus Labuschagne, and Renshaw said he is preparing for the India series with SG balls.
“The SG ball is a bit different, so we are just trying to prepare as well as we can during this BBL schedule if we get a window to hit red balls,” said Renshaw .
“It is a lot different conditions in India, so we are trying to replicate them as much as we can. The plan was if (the Heat) got knocked out we’d do some prep with the (Australian) team in Sydney, but we just kept winning and are in the (BBL) finals now.
There will be plenty of time to practice there as well since we have a solid week and a half in India before the first Test, he said.