By Dhananjay Devasper
We are a few days away from the Boxing Day Test match and the Indian team finds itself confronted with a similar set of problems. They will be heavily dependent on Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar (still searching for that elusive “century of centuries”) and of course that “Very Very Special” Laxman, who seems to roll back the years when he plays the Aussies.
The batting looks competitive despite Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli’s recent struggle in the longer format of the game. The biggest nightmare for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has to be his bowling department. With the Australian wickets known to favour the quicker bowlers, he has only Zaheer Khan as an experienced campaigner. Vinay Kumar does not seem to be a threat when the ball ceases to do something after a few overs. Abhimanyu Mithun has known to be wayward. Both these bowlers will need to pull up their socks if they have to put up a good show in Australia.
Another headache for the Indian team has been the uncanny knack of Indian cricketers picking up injuries before and during the tour. This is especially true for the bowlers. The England tour was testament to that fact, and a similar story is repeated. First Praveen Kumar and Varun Aaron were sidelined by injuries. If that was not bad enough, news trickles in that Ishant Sharma’s ankle has started acting up and he could be in trouble. One saw the hunger in Ishant Sharma, despite his inexperience, the last time India toured Australia. Hopefully, he will be fit for the fray.
India will be pinning their hopes on their new pace bowler, Umesh Yadav. With his ability to consistently touch 140 kmph, and his recent performances against the West Indies and in the tour game against Cricket Australia Chairman’s XI, one hopes to expect a good showing from him. Ishant and Yadav, two bowlers consistently bowling in excess of 140 kmph, would mean a lot to India’s chances in Australia.
While the bowling department is relatively weak, in terms of experience, there is no shortage of expectations and a desire to do well among the youngsters. The Indian fans will certainly hope that this young bunch can turn potential into performance.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an "IT guy" by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)