Former captain Ian Chappell said on Friday that India will not win the Test series in Australia later this year if they fail to dismiss Steve Smith and David Warner early.

Chappell highlighted the impact of the two batting mainstays should the much-anticipated series goes ahead as scheduled with the Covid-19 pandemic being brought under control in a best-case scenario.

“I am certainly looking forward to it [the India-Australia series]. It will be a very interesting one. India will come with the confidence of having won last time they toured Australia,” Chappell said on the Sony Ten Pit Stop show.

The 76-year-old added: “It will be a bit harder this time [for India] with Smith and Warner in the Australian side. But India are well equipped to handle Australian conditions.”

Under Virat Kohli, India created history when they earned their first-ever Test series triumph Down Under in 2018-19, after trying for seven decades. However, at that time, Australia did not have the services of the swashbuckling batting duo of Warner and Smith, who were serving bans for ball-tampering.

“Australia are pretty hard to beat at home and particularly with the attack that they have got at the moment, it is a very, very strong attack. The batting last time India were here wasn’t so good. If India can keep getting Warner and Smith out cheaply, then India could win. If they don’t get Warner and Smith cheaply, Australia will win,” said Chappell.

Chappell heaped praise on Kohli, saying he is the best at the moment when it comes to playing all the three formats, reiterating a point he made recently.

“India has had some pretty good batsmen, but the comment I made was over the three formats. I was basically asked Steve Smith or Virat Kohli and I said over the three formats, you can’t pick anyone ahead of Kohli. I mean his records in all three formats is incredible and how he averages over 50 in T20 cricket, I think it’s a tremendous feat.

“So, he [Kohli], in my opinion, if you are taking about all three formats, Kohli is the best batsman at the moment,” said the former Australian captain.

Chappell thinks that the game is strong enough to survive the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

He added: “It will certainly be different and I am not 100%s sure in what ways it will be different. But the game continues to evolve and I am sure it is strong enough that it will survive this.

“You would hope that the administrators have taken this time to think about the game and where it’s going to go and where it can improve, so hopefully it might even come back stronger.”