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Jackson fans' tribute at Apollo

Friday, October 17, 2008

Great lesson for good news Bear

Shane Warne

October 17, 2008 12:00am

THERE'S a saying that there's nothing like the first time, and for Cameron White and Ricky Ponting the first Test in India will be one to remember.

For Ricky, his first Test century on Indian soil will rid him of any demons that were lurking leading into the series.

As for White (alias Bundy Bear), the whole five days would have been a bit of a blur. Receiving his baggy green cap, walking on to the field, the noise of India, and then waiting his turn to bat and bowl.

He had a good outing and will be better for the run - he would have learned a lot about himself and Test match cricket.

His bowling got better and better throughout the game, and getting the main man Sachin Tendulkar out by deceiving him in flight - well bowled, Bear - will have him in a good place for the next battle in Mohali.

The Bangalore Test proved that, as expected, the series will be a tough battle.

And one gets the feeling that India will not be bullied or pushed around, especially verbally, on and off the field.

India has been forthright in its approach to the series, and very vocal. And that continued after the Test.

Australia was in a good position to win the game, but to India's credit it hung on and toughed it out. The wicket did not play as many tricks as it looked like it was going to do, which didn't help the Aussies.

Speaking of the wicket, I reckon for the rest of the series India will prepare some dusty turning tracks - ones that spin big as the game goes on. That means the toss is very important and posting a big first-innings total is crucial.

So the top order of Katich, Hayden, Ponting, Hussey, Clarke and Watson need to fill their boots, and Punter needs to call correctly at the toss.

There has been a bit of talk about Indian captain Anil Kumble and his future.

Anil is one of the true gentlemen of the game and is well respected by opponents around the world. He is a magnificent competitor and has a huge heart.

I expect him to have a big game in this Test. Don't write him off. He is a tough person with a lot of pride, and one who can say he got the best out of himself and became the best player he possibly could.

And that's all you can ask as a sportsman.

India will miss his competitiveness and his common-sense approach, but most of all his ability and skill to bounce and turn the red or white cricket ball.

Now let's clear up a few things away from the spicy vindaloo and hot curries of India.

I was recently in England to launch my book of the top 100 players I played with and against (good read, by the way!) and was asked the question: Would I come out of retirement?

My answer was the same as it has always been: No, I am happily retired at this stage and I am in the same boat as Harvey Norman - no interest!

The reason I say "at this stage" is because through experience I have learned to say "never say never" in my life.

But Australia is in good shape, even with the recent retirements, and will continue to win. It's time to move on and accept who we have and encourage the new players rather than compare them with those from the past.

The next 12 months will be very interesting to watch, with a South African series both at home and in their back yard and then the Ashes. All are big clashes, but I am still confident the boys will do the job.

Regarding the Ashes, I also said that Australia would win 5-0 if England continued to lose Test series and win only dead rubbers. But if they started to win the lead-up series, as in 2005, then we could be in for one hell of a fight.

A bit different to the way it's been reported, that I said we would wipe the floor with England. Having said that, I still hope we do!

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