2015, in fact, proved to be a transition year for Indian Cricket as far as Test Cricket is concerned given the change in Captaincy, the fact remains that such a change has an overall effect on a Cricket Team, no matter which format they play. Though Dhoni’s leadership skills in limited overs cricket remain unchallenged, the Team may have a tough time adapting again with the Captain Cool after playing a smooth Test Series under a toned down, yet a Red Hot Captain, Virat Kohli. In fact, it has been a gap of 7 years when we did not have multiple captaincy in place. At a time, when almost all the Test Playing Nations have got strongholds in their own backyards, India can and should sure expect unfamiliar and highly uncomfortable conditions, down under. We give an analysis of what to and what not to expect for the high profile Limited over India Australia Series 2016, between the former World Champions and the Current World Champions when they will be clashing for the first bilateral ODI Series down under.
India Australia Series 2016 – What to Expect:
Disastrous Short Length Bowling:
We can expect what we did to South Africa in our backyard, though justified; Australia will do to us in their backyard. We had prepared rank turners to defeat the South Africans spinning a web around them; Australia will sure prepare some bouncy tracks to give us some Chin Music. Thus, we should expect a twofold impending disaster for India, one, their medium pacers trying to make use of the Australian tracks and bowling Short of a Length and being taken for the cleanest out of their own lack of pace and out of Australian Expertise of handling the Short Pitch stuff, so we might end up seeing what we have seen Indian Medium pacers doing since Zaheer Khan’s faded away, bowling way Short and being taken for the cleanest. India should also expect some Chin Music from the likes of Josh Hazelwood and Kane Richardson, and many of those suspect to Short Length Bowling, Shikhar Dhawan, Raina and Rohit Sharma (in overseas conditions, though he seems to be comfortable in the subcontinent) might just have a tough time down ender.
The Aussies traditionally like the ball coming on to the bat and well that is exactly what they are going to get in their backyard, pitches were the ball does not stay low and slow, given that especially Warner and Marsh among others are going through a purple patch, we might see a classical display of positive batting by the Aussies. How Indians handle the sloggers towards the end depends on whether they have learned the art of bowling Yorkers and slower balls towards the death overs, which looks quite unlikely given their recent performance against South Africa.
Kohli firing on all cylinders:
The Indian run machine had shown us on the last tour down under, that he does not have the same outside the off stump line problem in Australia as he had in English Conditions, being one of the best pullers and hookers of the Short ball in the Indian Team as of now, though he may not be in the form of his life, he can definitely do what he did the last time around and we could see him scoring some big hundreds this time around too.
Ashwin bowling well under unfavorable conditions:
Ashwin has been by far the best Indian Spinner in the last 4 years or so and arguably the best in the world but he has until now failed to impress much in unfavourable conditions, though he may be the last bowler that a batsman would like to face on a turning track, he looks ineffective in conditions which are not spinner friendly.
2015 was a turning point in the Offie’s career and he has shown greater skill and control on his bowling by resisting his temptation to bowl the carom bowl and bowling the classical outside the off stump line of an off spinner apart from improving a lot upon his bowling action. On this tour, we might see Ashwin becoming a bowler, who is not only excellent at home but can also contribute in overseas conditions.
India Australia Series 2016 – What not to Expect:
Indian Pacers making any impact:
Ishant is ideally a Test Match bowler and bowls that typical length, Bhuvneshwar was a proficient swing bowler until in an attempt to up his pace, he lost his most potent weapon, his swing and Umesh Yadav, though has raw pace, does not have the control which one requires at the International Level. This sums up why we should not expect Indian Pacers to make any impact even if we call them pacers for the semantic courtesy of the word.
Dhoni firing all cylinders:
Dhoni is still very much the best finisher in the Indian Cricket Team and the best lower Middle Order Batsman in the Indian Batting Line up but the fact remains that he alone cannot take care of the task of taking India over the line, no matter how much talent and experience he possesses he needs a couple of guys who can at least hang around them and also throw their bats at crucial junctures but this is what exactly India lacks, thus Dhoni is more than often seen batting in an uncharacteristic manner down the order especially when the Top and the Middle Order fails, which will happen on more than occasion down under.
Experienced Lot making a difference:
We do love Yuvraj and Bhajji, they have been great entertainers in the 21st Century and have taken the Team home on more than one occasion but the fact remains that they now are unable to cope up with the standards of International Cricket, as we saw Harbhajan losing much of the control over his ability to land the bowl in the right areas, one thing is clear that he is way past his prime, and given that Australian tracks will not be of much help, he has a tough challenge ahead of him, Yuvraj too has not been able to make much impact for the last two years or so.
Another comeback man, Ashish Nehra too has run out of steam, in fact, he ran out of steam way back, and his selection cannot be at all justified, at a time, when we are looking to build a Pace Battery that can last at least one decade bringing back a Medium Pacer who definitely does not have much cricket left in him as far as International Cricket is not a prudent decision.
Thus, no matter how much you love these legends, one thing is for sure, you cannot expect them firing on all cylinders this time around and may well prove to be the last time that they accompany the Indian Team on a Tour.
India Australia Series 2016 – Conclusion:
What we can expect in the India Australia Series 2016 is an exact replica of what happened in the 2014-15 Series when India was down under the last time around. The composition of both the teams gives very much the same idea, we lack pace, Kangaroos have that, our batsmen, well most of them lack the ability to tackle the Short Pitch Delivery, but Aussies have great expertise over that. Again we can expect, a real hell, down under. The positives in an otherwise dismal performance might again be more or less the same, with the exception of Ravichandran Ashwin.
The idea of the Article is not to criticize the Indian Team, but the fact remains that the art of travelling with good results is somewhat dying in today’s cricket. Thus, all teams look invincible in their own backyards and completely helpless when they travel overseas.
Featured Image Courtesy: EspnCricinfo