Australian cricket team has just landed in India. I am sure the Indian fans are looking forward to the event, still remembering the 2001 series. Some of the stalwarts from that memorable series is still with the Indian team where as Australia has a much more changed outlook.
Very Very Special series
When it comes to a series against Australia the name that comes to an Indian fan’s mind is not that of Tendulkar or Dravid! It is all about Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman who relishes the Australian bowling attack – does not matter whether it is spin or pace. This time around, age has caught up with him but the fans are still looking forward to witness yet another Very Very Special inning. Fitness and whether permitting, Laxman will be completing his 100th test in this series as he has now 96 test caps and it is a 4-test match series.
After VVS it’s all about Dravid and Bajji and I sincerely hope that Kumble along with Bajji will do some magic this time around. And more importantly, this could be one of the last two or three series for Kumble and he MUST give some opportunity for budding spinners as well. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if they play three spinners in at least two matches in this series.
As Tendulkar is not present, there will be additional headache for Dravid. Hopefully a younger batsman (not Yuvraj) will also get a chance to prove his worth. India’s ODI captain, returning to the test squad, will also use this opportunity to improve his test form as well as gain some learning to take over reigns from Kumble soon.
The Australian Team
Compared to the Indian team, the aussies have an inexperienced but a tougher team. The youngsters on the side must be looking forward to a great opportunity to play in India which Steve Waugh called the Final Frontier. Althogh, the jinx was broken in the last visit, playing in the sub-continent is still not an easy thing for the Aussies. Ponting would love to find some form in India during this series and Michael Clarke will have a great apprenticeship as he prepares to take over the captaincy in another two years!
There are also three youngsters, on the side, whom I haven’t heard about before… Hope the debutant quickies Peter Siddle and (the tall) Doug Bollinger along with the oldie debutant spinner Bryce McGain will duly support Lee, Johnson, Clark and Watson in their respective departments. Jason Krejza is the new allrounder and that makes almost 25% of the team inexperienced. Though the bowling department has a very good representation, the batting looks pretty week for Australia. With Ponting never finding form in India, Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey will have an enhance role to play and hopefully Phil Jacques, Simon Catich and Shane Watson will find some form against the Indian spin attack.
I only hope that no dust bowls will be prepared by the groundmen this time. Of course, the venues are picked in a balancing act with Mohali/Nagpur offering some bounce and Delhi/Bangalore are pancake flat pitches made for Bajji and Kumble.
Anyways, looking forward to see a wonderful test match series…