Mumbai: Dec 20, 2011
The upcoming four-Test rubber against Australia is India's best opportunity to win a series Down Under, feels former Australia skipper Ian Chappell.
"The Indian players should think that this is their best chance to win in Australia. They (Australian) are very young.
The Australian team may have good days, but they are very inconsistent," he said during a panel discussion at the Raj Singh Dungarpur World Cricket Summit here last night.
Former England captain Mike Brearley and Indian cricketers -- Kapil Dev, Sanjay Manjrekar and Ajay Jadeja -- were among others, who were part of the discussion.
Chappell named flamboyant Indian opener Virender Sehwag and experienced seamer Zaheer Khan as the players, who could play a critical role for India in the series.
"Sehwag is the sort of player, who would keep the opposition batsmen awake at night. He scores quickly and makes big runs. Zaheer has the habit of taking early wickets and taking five-wicket hauls. Both give their team maximum time to win a Test," he said.
The noted cricket commentator said, the major worry for Australia was the injuries to key players.
"One of the main concerns for Australia is injuries.
Their players have suffered ridiculous number of injuries.
Shaun Marsh (who has a back injury), has not played in the last seven weeks," he said.
All-rounder Shane Watson, left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson, young sensation Pat Cummins are among several important Aussie players, who have injury concerns.
He was also of the view that former skipper Ricky Ponting should soon take a decision on his retirement, before the selectors are forced to drop him.
"Ricky is struggling. He may still make runs, he is a fine player. He knows how to survive. If he gets over 20-30 runs, he will make a big score, but not as consistently as he did earlier. It also doesn't help having a former skipper in the team, though I must say, he has handled himself very well and let Michael Clarke do the decision making.
"If Australia has 2-3 good young players, he might be gone. I would like to see Ricky make that decision himself. I would hate to see him getting dropped. One of the selectors should tell him that it’s time to go," he added.
Kapil said India would have to show a lot of commitment to do well in Australia.
"I would like to see commitment from everyone. The entire country is obsessed about whether Sachin (Tendulkar) will get his 100th hundred or not, whereas the question should be whether India can win or not.
"If they don't have such commitment, India won't be able to do well. The senior cricketers have to push and start getting things done from youngsters. It is the history of Indian cricket that those, who are out of form, regain form against India," he cautioned.
Kapil was also critical of the Indian fast bowlers for getting injured regularly.
"With technology coming, they believe in working on their body. Today, they are satisfied bowling 5-6 over that too at 120-130kmph. On the second day of a Test in England, your captain (wicketkeeper M S Dhoni) is bowling. The young boys have to bowl long spells in Ranji Trophy. IPL is good, but, if they are satisfied with bowling four overs, then we can't have great bowlers," he said.
Brearley said, the Australian team, which is undergoing a transitional phase, will make a comeback soon.
"They are not an established strong team and are in the process of uncertainty. But, they are a fairly determined group of people. They would come back hard and perhaps achieve better results," he said.
Manjrekar said the India-Australia series will confirm whether the disastrous England tour was just a blip or something was indeed wrong with Dhoni's boys.
"I felt that the England tour was more than a blip. This tour will confirm whether it was an aberration or there is something more to worry about."
The former India batsman said, the Indian team's approach while embarking on an overseas tour had changed significantly and they did not suffer from inferiority complex now.
While marking Sehwag and Ponting as the crucial players for their sides, Jadeja said, it was to be seen whether Zaheer would be fit for the entire tour and whether he could repeat his success while using the Kookabura balls.
"I am yet to see him (Zaheer) finish a tour in two years. He has been playing only for the past 10 days. Besides, he has not taken many wickets with the Kookabura balls. Unlike other fast bowlers, he has taken most of his wickets in India, where he has mastered the art of swinging the SG balls."
Jadeja criticised the selectors for not giving the youngsters a long run and said not much should be expected from the youth brigade during the tour.
"At least from the batting perspective, youngsters are not getting to get many chances. Look at the past 2-3 years, we pushed Saurav Ganguly out of the Indian team saying that a lot of youngsters were coming up. But today, we are still wondering who would be the number six batsman. As long as the senior batsmen are there, they are not going to get too many chances.
"Perhaps bowlers, yes. But we have played almost 15 bowlers recently. The selectors have become rejectors. They have to give the players a long run. Unless they spend time bowling to the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, they won't get too much experience," he concluded.(PTI)