Melbourne: Locking horns with a reinforced Australia will be a "different ball game" if India get a chance to contest the series Down Under later this year, opener Rohit Sharma said on Wednesday.
Exactly when the tour will go ahead is still up in the air as the coronavirus pandemic has brought professional cricket to a halt globally, but that uncertainty has not stopped Rohit from looking forward to what he expects to be a close contest.
"It will be a great series," Rohit told India Today news channel.
India won a test series in Australia for the first time on the 2018-19 tour, prevailing over the depleted hosts who missed Steve Smith and David Warner through ball-tampering bans.
With the batting mainstays back in the side, revenge will be on Australia's mind when India return this summer.
"Australia, in their own backyard and with those two guys, it will be a different ball game, I know that," said Rohit.
"As a team, we are also playing our best cricket right now... If it happens, it'll be a great series to be part of." Cricket Australia is yet to announce dates and venues of the tests which will take place after the Twenty20 World Cup.
However, the pandemic has also raised doubts about whether the Twenty20 World Cup can be contested as scheduled from Oct. 18 to Nov. 15 in Australia.
Whenever the Australia v India series does go ahead, it will be particularly important to Rohit as he has revived his long-format career by reinventing himself as a test opener.
Rohit missed the test series in New Zealand after suffering a calf injury in February and knows he must perform in the next away series to prove his credentials.
"I was quite looking forward to playing in the challenging conditions in New Zealand but unfortunately the injury happened at the wrong time," said the limited-overs stalwart.
"I can't wait to go in Australia and test myself." Rohit hoped his fellow players, currently in lockdown in their homes, would get adequate time to shake off the rust.
"Especially for me, because I was injured before all this happened. I have a lot of work to do before I start playing.
"My fitness test was just around the corner when lockdown happened. So the first thing for me would be to pass the fitness test and then obviously, hit some balls because it's been a while."