Monday, September 28, 2009

INDIA VS AUSTRALIA ODI :Aussies have edge over India, says Waugh

Both Australia and India have played pretty average cricket in their opening games of the Champions Trophy. The defending champions were tested severely, more by the conditions than the opposition at the Wanderers, while a few kilo metres away, India went down to Pakistan at Centurion.

Australia, to be fair, have not had time to acclimatize, and were put into bat in very difficult conditions. But considering they were pitted against a very inexperienced West Indies team, they should have done better. Finally it was Mitchell Johnson, Australia’s strike bowler, who saved his team and got them to a strong position.

In the India-Pakistan game, it was the absence of some senior pros like Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag that cost M S Dhoni dear. As he mentioned in a surprisingly candid post-match interview, the bowlers also had a poor day.

I know a loss against Pakistan would hurt India, but they must remember that their team has been doing well and sometimes a reversal can happen. The Pakistan team, unpredictable as ever, were exceptional on Saturday.

They seemed a happier unit of players who were playing for each other. Also, the return of Mohammed Yusuf from his ICL stint has added class and solidity to their middle order.

As mentioned, the absence of Sehwag and Yuvraj was crucial, but it was good to see youngsters like Virat Kohli being put into a pressure game like the one on Saturday. The Indians must realize that they cannot depend on the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid always, and that it is necessary to continuously blood new talent for the health and development of the side.

Today’s game is a must-win for India, and they do have the potential to win against Australia. However, the latter would have learnt from the game on Saturday, and would put in a much-improved effort on Monday.

Their bowling looked good on Saturday, and I expect their batsmen will put in an improved performance as well. That is not to say that the team does not have a few problem areas.

Shane Watson and Michael Hussey have both been out of sorts, and this does make the batting a little vulnerable. They did not do well against a young inexperienced West Indian outfit, so it remains to be seen how they fare against India, world-class bowling attack.

However, both teams will be relieved it’s a day-night game, which means early morning moisture and movement will not tilt the game in favour of one team. Conditions at Centurion are more suited to both sides, and will ensure a more fair contest.

There is no arguing that India have done very well against various teams in the last 12 months, especially in one-dayers. They have the potential to do well here as well. It’s just that the non-availability of some of their seniors makes the batting look a little less formidable than it usually does.

Of course, it would be great for India if someone puts up their hand and does the job for India, especially one of the younger players. However, if I had to pick up a favourite for Monday, it would have to be Australia, their insipid outing against West Indies notwithstanding.

1 comment:

hemanth said...

The first match of India vs Australia (Aussies) series will be played on September 29 and the last of the seven one-dayers between India and Australia will be played on October 20.