An Anil Kumble-led India left yesterday for a tough cricket tour of Australia in confident mood, despite history being against them.
India have never clinched a Test series in Australia since their maiden visit there in 1947-48 and have won just four of their 32 Tests Down Under.
Top-ranked Australia are currently on a roll as they have not lost a Test since August 2005, which includes a 14-match winning streak.
But Kumble believes his side could defy history this time as he had the batsmen to deliver in all conditions, especially after leading his side to a rare Test series win on his debut as captain against Pakistan.
His confidence also stemmed from India's impressive recent away record -- Test series victories in the West Indies last year after 35 years and then in England this year after 21 years under Rahul Dravid.
India drew a four-Test series 1-1 on their last tour of Australia in 2003-2004 under Sourav Ganguly.
Kumble pinned hopes on a famed middle-order quartet -- comprising Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and VVS Laxman -- to test Australia.
It will be the last chance for the foursome and their captain to overcome the odds, for they may not be around when India next tour Australia in 2011. Ganguly is 35, followed by Tendulkar and Dravid, both 34, and Laxman, 33.
"Our strength is our middle order, which has 30,000 runs among them. We have to ensure we don't worry about the opposition, and get the job done," said the Indian captain.
Ganguly, top-scorer against Pakistan with 534 runs in three matches, is likely to make his 100th Test appearance when India open a four-match series in Melbourne on Dec. 26.
India have gambled on hard-hitting opener Virender Sehwag who was recalled more because of his past performances in Australia, where he has averaged 54.70 in five Tests, than on current form.
They will rely on leg-spinner Kumble and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh to test a formidable Australian batting line-up as they do not have the pace attack to match their rivals.
India have named five fast bowlers in a 16-man squad, with Zaheer Khan the most experienced with 52 Tests. Irfan Pathan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ishant Sharma and Pankaj Singh have a combined tally of 35 matches.
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