Australian batting powerhouse Matthew Hayden says there’s a little bit of Ricky Ponting in uncapped allrounder Glenn Maxwell.
Australia’s four-Test series against India starts in Chennai on February 22 at Chidambaram Stadium, where Hayden belted 203 in the first innings on his way to a 549-run series.
Hayden concedes Australia’s batting ranks will be stretched by the absence of retired greats Mike Hussey and Ponting, and he says their spinners might not be able to match the 37-wicket haul of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann in England’s 2-1 series victory in December in India.
But the former world-record holder Hayden lavished high praise on uncapped allrounder Maxwell.
“There are some dark horses like Glenn Maxwell who reminds me a lot of a young Ricky Ponting,” Hayden said on Thursday.
“He has tremendous athletic ability and I think this tour will be a lot about developing a player like Maxwell for the future.”
Hayden also praised the run-scoring ability and fighting spirit of No.3 Phil Hughes.
Australia’s pace battery is shaping up well with Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc looking likely selections and James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Jackson Bird potentially competing for the third fast-bowler’s role.
Australia could opt to play only two quicks plus two spinners and pace-bowling allrounder Moises Henriques, who claimed 4-12 in the two-day game against India Board XI which ended in a draw on Wednesday.
Bird finished with 0-10 from 10 tidy overs on Wednesday and Hayden says the Tasmanian quick, whose two-Test career has already yielded 11 wickets, is set for big things.
“Graeme Swann is a wonderful bowler and so is Panesar,” Hayden told the Times of India newspaper.
“Those two bowled really well in India.
“Australia (led by frontline slow bowlers Nathan Lyon and Xavier Doherty and backed up by spin-bowling allrounders Maxwell and Steve Smith) don’t have so much depth in their spin bowling.
“But the pace attack is very balanced. Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc are good bowlers, but be wary of Jackson Bird.
“He bowls fast and can reverse the ball and I won’t be surprised if he is a success story at the end of the series.”