New Delhi, March 10: Former Australia captain Michael Clarke feels that fast bowler Mitchell Starc's absence due to injury will have a huge bearing on the final outcome of the four-Test series against India.
Starc was on Friday (March 10) ruled out of the remaining two Tests with a stress fracture in his right foot.
"It will have a huge impact. Mitchell Starc is that X-factor for the Australian team. I think he will certainly be missed. Who they bring is I am not sure but it makes the game even tougher for Australia," Clarke told reporters on the sidelines of a CRY event for underprivileged kids here.
However Clarke is confident that Australia can still win the series from here on.
"But Australia will still be confident that they can win in these conditions. They won in Pune and now can be confident thay can still win in Ranchi."
While he didn't take any specific questions of the DRS controversy, Clarke termed Virat Kohli's aggression as one of his greatest strengths. He finds no reason why India captain shouldn't continue to play hard on the field in order to achieve success for his side.
"Virat's aggression is one of his greatest strengths. That's the way he likes to play, that's the way he had success and I am sure that's the way he will continue to play," Clarke said.
Another Australian legend Steve Waugh is a fan of Kohli's aggression, but feels the Indian captain needs to tone down a bit while on the field.
Asked Clarke about Waugh's comments, he said: "Everybody have their own opinion. I think at the moment Virat is gonna do whatever he can to help India have success. They had an azaming summer. They played some unbelievable cricket and Australia know India is always tough in the backyard. Virat enjoys that challenge. He knows how this Indian team play their best, hence they have been rewarded in the past few months."
Clarke said the ongoing series is no different from any other "competitive" India-Australia rubber.
"It's a fantastic series. Test cricket between India and Australia is always competitive and I love that. "I am really happy that this series is being so competitive. Whether the series is being played in Australia or India, we always see good competitive cricket and this series is no different," he said.
Clarke was also full of praise for Australian spin duo of Nathan Lyon and Steve O'Keefe, who left their mark in the first two Tests.
"The way Nathan Lyon and O'Keefe bowled has been exceptional. They have really enjoyed these conditions. They deserve a lot of credit for their preparation. They trained really hard, spent a lot of time speaking to people about how best to bowl in India. I think together they have done a wonderful job," he said.
The former Aussie skipper feels it has been tough for batsmen of both sides so far in the series.
"I think both the teams have found it difficult to bat because the wickets have been tough. The bowl spun a lot and the bounce have been inconsistent," Clarke signed off.