Melbourne, June 5 : Indian Test cricket captain and ace leg-spinner Anil Kumble has warned Australia that it won't make much headway during their tour of India, if they don't have a quality spin attack.
In an interview with The Age, Kumble said that with the retirements of quality spinners like Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill in the last 17 months, Australian selectors and captain Ricky Ponting faced a tough challenge four months ahead of their tour of India.
"The success Australia has had over the last 15 years or so, has been because of the depth and variety in their bowling attack," Kumble told The Age.
"They definitely have the fast-bowling quality, but it's important to have a quality spinner to give the right balance. It will be a tough task for them. It's something we will definitely be looking at from an opposition point of view," he added.
Not even Shane Warne thrived against India. Macgill played only one series against them, and remarked: "It's not that they know what I bowl, it's that they don't care."
In 2004, Australia conquered the Indians in their own conditions with a concerted pace assault, and experimented with finger-spinner Nathan Hauritz when Warne was injured. Now uncapped Chinaman bowler Beau Casson has been thrust to the head of the queue, with Dan Cullen potentially an off-spin option for the sequel to last summer's absorbing and fractious series.
Australia enters a 12-month period containing Tests against India, South Africa and England with a giant question mark over its spin stocks.
Kumble's resolve to snatch Australia's No. 1 ranking is undiminished since the home side's hard-fought 2-1 victory last summer.
"We still have to win a lot of matches to get there, but we are moving in the right direction," he said.
"There's a challenge coming up against Sri Lanka and after that we are all looking forward to the Australian series," he added.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting has called on selectors to play Casson in the third Test against the West Indies in Barbados next week after a draw in the second Test, giving the left-armer an opportunity to experience international cricket before Australia's next major Test assignment on the dusty wickets of India.
"The next Test matches we play will be in India, we probably don't want debutant spinners playing over there," Ponting said.
The Australians would welcome any kind of contribution from Casson in the third Test.