MELBOURNE, Dec 21: Sachin Tendulkar might be in the twilight of his career but spin legend Shane Warne believes the master batsman is still a force to reckon with and backed him to score heavily in his last Australian tour.
Warne, who mastered the art of leg spin but failed to solve an enigma called Tendulkar during his illustrious career, warned Australia to write off the 'great' player at their own peril.
"I don't believe just because he is getting old, he is finished. Given the conditions, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are going to be pretty flat, I expect Sachin to get lot of runs", Warne said.
"There is no doubt he will play one or two special innings in this Test series. Absolutely no doubt, he will play a couple of unbelievable breathtaking innings.
Warne picked Tendulkar as the greatest contemporary batsman he played against and warned Australia not to ignore him.
"He is the best batsman I have played either with or against. You never write off a great player," said Warne as he backed the peerless Indian and the rest of his teammates to score heavily in the next few weeks.
"Two of the Tests are in Sydney and Adelaide. Melbourne has been very, very benign and flat. If you don't take wickets xwith the new ball, you are in for a long day in the field."
Warne said the experienced Indian batting line-up will pile up huge runs, but for getting 20 wickets and winning against the Aussies, India will have to depend on its spinners.
"Can India take 20 wickets? I think it will be down to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh."
"Two of the Tests are in Sydney and Adelaide. They are obviously spinning wickets. They will go in with two spinners and the wickets will help their batting.
"It will help their quicks, Zaheer Khan, with reverse swing in Sydney and Adelaide.
Warne expressed his admiration for skipper Anil Kumble for being a gentleman cricketer and yet being the most competitive of the Indian players.
"He is one of the gentlemen of the game, one of the nicest blokes you will ever meet but also one of the most competitive players going around in that Indian side.
"He is very, very competitive and I think he will make a great captain," said Test cricket's highest wicket-taker.
Warne hoped the present team management would not try the same methods as John Buchanan and Steve Waugh did during their reign in the 2003-2004 series.
"The great players you have to try and get them out, you can't just bore them out. That's what I believe was wrong with part of our tactics under John Buchanan and Steve Waugh. They wanted to bowl wide of off-stump and pack the off-side", he said.
You just can't bowl to the great players like that. You have got to try and get them out otherwise they will bat all day. That's what happened early on in India. I was against those tactics," Warne said.
"I think the majority of the Indian players, you are not going to overdo the short ball, but there is going to be a lot of short-pitched bowling at the Indians on our wickets. That's not just to Sachin."
Warne also called former coach Buchanan a 'goose' and somebody "who had no idea and lacked common sense."
"I don't think he has made one good point in a long time. He is living in a pixy land. We had to listen to his verbal diarrhoea all the time."
Warne chose the moment to criticise the present cricket set-up in Australia.
"Australian people, administrators, ex-players and coaches, also John Buchanan, have got to stop the arrogant mindset that Australia is so much better than anybody else.
"There is going to be a time in the next two or three years when Australia is tested."
Warne also gave an insight into what he intended to do with his life after cricket.
"I am looking to set up my own cricket academy where a lot of countries can send their captains and spinners and I can work with them. It's going to be more like a workshop than academy."