Comparing Indian and Australian Squads
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With India losing their tag of being the best team after losing to England in a humiliating manner, with a scoreline of 4-0, followed by a similar loss against Australia, it created lots of questions about the Indian Team as they got back to their way of being lions at home and lambs outside. But things turned worse when India lost to England at home, that too on tracks assisting spinners. English spinners got more assistance from the tracks than their Indian counterparts. Indian batsmen couldn't pick English bowlers while surprisingly, English batsmen looked more prepared and picked the Indian spinners with ease. This has created doubts in the ability of our batsmen as well as bowlers at home. With Australia touring India for four Test matches, every one's expecting Indian team to come back strongly and win the Test series comprehensively against a team lacking in experience, as their experienced campaigners Ponting and Hussey recently retired from international cricket. Its not going to be easy for Australians who are touring with a relatively inexperienced squad.
Mahindra Singh Dhoni, skipper of Indian team, is under the hammer after losing 10 of the last 14 Test matches before this series. There have been many comments about Dhonis captaincy being very predictable and bowling changes not being accurate according to the situation and field placements being very defensive. Personally, being in good form could help him to get back to his rhythm of captaincy and win matches for the nation while its a complete different story for Clarke, who had been one of the best in the past few years but pressure of leading an inexperienced side my wary him a bit but the way his form in the past twelve months should make him confident but the main concern will be his fitness who is suffering from hamstring.
Mathew Wade who is picked ahead of Haddin as gloves man was criticized for his sloppy glove work against Srilanka in Australia but he has impressed with his bat. This series is real test for this south paw with spinning tracks in the subcontinent expected to test him and he would like to take it as a challenge to prove his ability and shut his critics.
For me the main concern for both the teams is their spin department for India Ashwin, who is skippers trump card gave away a lot of runs and found it tough for filling the wickets column, Harbhajan Singh, who is about to play his 100th test is not the same bowler as he used to be in the past and Pragnan Ohja, who was the best bowler of India against England found it very difficult to pick wickets in domestic circuit. Positives for Indian spin bowling is that Harbhajan bowled good line and length in Irani Trophy and got the wickets for the classic off spinner deliveries and Australia being his favorite opponent should help his confidence while Ohja was very consistent in his approach without giving away any loose deliveries. Another import concern would be the number of spin bowlers in the playing eleven. Dhoni is criticized for under utilizing Harbhajan or using him only for containing the batsmen in the Test match against England. So playing two spinners would be ideal, with Ravindra Jadeja who can be handy with his left arm spin. Choosing the two of three should be the issue the coach and skipper discuss about. Coming to Australia Lyon is the lone spinner who had played a good amount of test cricket while his counter part Doherty who is generally an ODI bowler, is picked in the team keeping the spinner friendly tracks in subcontinent but Doherty had played containing role until now and was very successful but playing attacking cricket will be a new challenge for him and we have to wait and watch how he delivers it. Australia may follow the footsteps of England who won against India with two spinners.
Indian pace attack is very young with the likes of Bhubaneswar Kumar and Ashok Dinda lead by Ishant who came back from injury recently. With Ishant and Kumar being in good form in the series against Pakistan and England, the Indian skipper could use them for a good impact with the new ball. Kumars ability to swing the ball both the ways at a brisk pace with the new ball and the ability of Ishant to extract the extra bounce from the track with his height will make this duo threatening even on a flat batting track . One of the drawback in the pace department is the lack of experience where Zaheer could have been the ideal member to lead the pace attack. Australian Pace attack is also very young but has proved them. Starc who have been in great touch who will be the key for the Aussies who are led by Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson. With players like Bird and Pattinson, Australian pace bowling line up looks more formidable than their Indian counterparts but it all depends on the way they adapt to the placid flat tracks in India.
Both the teams are in transition phase. Win for any team will make them confident. It is an important series for youngsters in both the teams. On the paper both the teams look well balanced while India is having home advantage.