It’s less than 10 days for the boxing day test match to kick off and it’s only getting tougher to wait. Things are at stake for both teams. India will be eager to improve their overseas record after the forgettable England tour. Australia will be hungry for a Test series win after draws with NZ and SA.
In most test matches ending with a result, you’ll observe a good bowling show by the winning team. After all, batsmen can make you 600 runs but you still have to pick 20 wickets to win. That’s what happened at England tour. Our bowlers couldn’t get regular break-through’s and batsmen were doing catching up. A fit Zak, hoping he plays all 4 matches, is a big positive and can prove to be the change factor. Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav will most probably make it to playing 11. Playing only 4 specialist bowlers, more of an ODI culture, has also spilled into Test cricket. 1/4 bowlers is bound to have a bad match. So the captain is left with only 3 bowlers. If you see Sehwag bowling in a Test match, you know something went wrong in bowling attack. Which is why I put forward the idea of going back to basics and playing 5 specialist bowlers. In the first match, I would vote for Ojha. His good form gives him the advantage. You might wonder why play 2 spinners on fast Australian wickets. But no matter how fast the wicket is, on days 4 & 5 spinners would play a huge part.
Well if we play 5 specialist bowlers, then both Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be axed (atleast for the 1st match). There could be a negative 60-70 runs to the Indian total. But the positive is bigger. 5th bowler can bring the net in positive by a long way. It could also mean top 6 put a higher price on their wicket. Dhoni would have more cards on field, would he complain?. A test match result is more directed by bowlers. If you remember the Sydney test in last tour, you might also throw in Umpires (pun intended). But such things are unlikely in Dhoni’s captaincy, he’s not one who will take such non-sense easily. It would, however, be a gutsy call to play 5 bowlers, but it’s only worth. It will surely be more exciting for viewers. This combination will most likely influence a result in the test match. Yes, it could backfire too.
Coming to our batsmen, you can always bank on them. Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman & Dhoni will all click at some point and runs will come. All of them will make centuries, you can put your money on it . Experience from previous tours will only increase that chances. In 2008 series, Sachin was given standing ovation in all 4 tests thinking it would be his last tour. But seeing the way he’s batting, cricket lovers will hardly complain.
To summarize, if our bowlers have a good tour, India will have more than a fair chance to register first Test series win in Aus soil. I wish for an Indian bowler bagging Man of the Series award. Dhoni’s list of achievements as a captain will be incremented by 1. Best wishes to Team India. Make’em taste blood (sorry as a die hard fan, had to say that).