Former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Wednesday said the possible absence of Steve Smith and David Warner in the Australia team for the series against India would be a "huge factor" as it's like India not having Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in their ranks.
The Australian Cricketers Association (ACA) had made a submission to Cricket Australia at the start of the month to lift the ban on Australian captain Smith and vice-captain Warner.
But indications are that they are not ready to bring the trio (Cameron Bancroft included) back to international cricket early.
Therefore, there seems little hope they will play Test cricket before March 29 when the ban on them ends.
"It's a huge factor. This is like the Indian team not having Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli," Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of health drink Complan's programme of which he is the brand ambassador.
Complan had launched 'Aro Sapno-Aro Bere Otho (Dream More, Grow More) contest last month, of which the winners were announced here at a plush hotel to celebrate the aspirations of children on Children's Day.
The contest was held across 100 schools in the city and children were asked to bring their dreams to life through creative expression. Students from classes 2-6 participated in the challenge.
Ganguly went through the created artworks and selected ten winners of the contest. The winners took home Rs 1 lakh prize money each.
Ganguly further said that this is India's best chance to win a test series in Australia, keeping in mind their bowling attack.
"It's a great moment for Indian cricket. This is their best opportunity to beat Australia. India are a good side and have a good bowling attack. I have seen in England that they (bowlers) have taken 20 wickets in every test," Ganguly said.
"But you also have to keep in mind that Australia in Australia are a different kettle of fish. Many feel that they are a weak outfit but I don't think so," the 46-year-old added.
India play four Tests starting December 6 at Adelaide Oval. India's best result Down Under was 1-1 in 2003-04 series under Ganguly.
Asked about Kohli's 'leave India' comment to a fan, Ganguly said, "I would not like to comment on that. It's not necessary to react to each and every comment."
Meanwhile, Ganguly also hinted that India pacer Mohammed Shami has expressed his desire to play for Bengal in the next Ranji Trophy game against Kerala.
"Shami has wanted to play. If he plays it's good for the Bengal side. We had written a letter before the first match as well to play him but he had a few fitness issues for which he had to go to rehabilitation. If he plays, it's great."