Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Should Be India's Test Squad For Australia?

Intrigue is always the central theme of Australia versus India contests. Fuelled by a decade full of heated confrontations, both in the play on the ground and the tension between the respective players.


This upcoming 4 Test series will be must see viewing for  it will represents India's best chance of a first ever series win on Australian soil. Against an Australia Team that has many question marks over its Team, but would view this series as a huge opportunity to regain some lost credibility on the World scene with a triumph.


The naming of the Squad will have a huge bearing on their prospects in the series, and as such lets look at its potential make up. The Squad will likely contain 16 names with the break up being this.


Captain


7 batsmen


7 bowlers (5 pacemen and 2 spinners)


Reserve wicket keeper


So let us look at all departments, who will get chosen, and their potential on the series


Captain- M.S.Dhoni


This series will define Dhoni as a Test leader. For he is revered like a God for his role in leading India to the World Cup victory. Though in the Test arena, if you talk to rationale Indian's, they have their reservations about his acutely defensive Captaincy. That in truth was behind India drawing the series in South Africa, rather than winning it. Then in this series will be crucial to the Teams chances. He cannot do what he shamelessly does with spinners in applying an ODI/T20 mindset in Test cricket, and duly having 4 on the fence from ball one. For the Australians are a diminished unit, but still are well versed in milking singles.


Away from his Captaincy, he has to be a factor with the bat. For when he is, his attacking style is game changing 


Batting


After the discarding of Suresh Raina after the England debacle, and Yuvraj Singh after his umpteenth failure at the Test level. The batting line up basically picks itself, and should be as follows:


Virender Sehwag


The main widely acknowledged in the Land Down Under as being the batsman that the Aussies fear the most. In this series against an Australian bowling line up not being as formidable as his past visits here, he could have a devastating effect on the series. Especially when most of the Tests are scheduled at venues that are batting friendly and devoid of pace and bounce. Only a vastly diminished Perth pitch from it past proud heritage of being bouncy and fast might be a dish that Viru finds hard to swallow. Though the WACA pitch of late is more resembling a batting paradise these days. So with the lightning quick outfield there- Sehwag might resemble Bradman, and hit 300 in a day


Gautam Gambhir


Fantastic player, and a perfect foil for Sehwag with his more sedate traditional style of batting. Though of late he has been struggling averaging 32.75 in 2010 and 35.18 so far in 2011. So with him yet to play a Test in Australia, and its unique conditions, it will be interesting to see how Gambhir fares. I am a fan of him, and after watching him eventually look at ease in similar conditions in South Africa against a far better bowling attack. I think he will perform to his usual lofty standards


Rahul Dravid


Many were calling for him to retire last year, only for him to not only bounce back, but in a manner that have him being viewed as one of the best batsmen in the World again. He has been to Australia, and conquered it before, and only a fool would not believe that he will rule it in this series


Sachin Tendulkar


Sachin is Sachin........ do we really need to say anything more?


Though with this likely to be his last tour to Australia it would not surprise at all if he left an indelible mark on it with a dominating series


VVS Laxman


The man that has always been a huge stumbling block for the Aussies. Whether it be in India or in Australia, the 'Very Very Special' Laxman has been just that.


Expect the same in this series


Virat Kohli


Touted as the next big thing in India cricket, mainly because of his supreme play in the shorter forms of the game. So far in his short tenure in the Test arena, he was made to look inadequate against the short ball, which is in no way a good prelude to the bouncy Aussie pitches. This being said, you cannot doubt the ability of the lad, and as such if he found a way to deal with the expected chin music. It wouldn't surprise at all. In all likelihood, he will start the series at 6 for India.


His exceptional fielding will be crucial in the series as well for India


Ajinkya Rahane


Ive always been a huge fan of this top order batsman, and always was bemused by why he was constantly overlooked for the Test Team. He is a must for this tour after proving he is very adept at performing in Aussie conditions on A tours, and if Kohli fails in the initial Tests. I would be near certain that he would come in and cement his place in the Team with assured performances. For his has Test calibre written all over him.


Bowling 


If the batting line up has a reasonable amount of certainty about it before it is announced. The bowling unit has a few intriguing sub plots. Most notably, whether the veterans in Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh will be selected or will the Selectors keep the faith in youth. Then the place in the line up for Praveen Kumar, who was strangely left out of the West Indies series.


This would be my 7 bowlers starting with the pacemen.


Zaheer Khan


Picking Zaheer would definitely represent a huge risk, that if came off badly could derail the Team like it did in England. Though the flip side of this is if he stays fit, and bowls anywhere near his potential. He could be devastating on this tour.


India has lacked in Zaheer's absence, and keeping this in mind need him on this tour to lead the attack. For which none of the other bowlers have shown a potential to do as yet.


Ishant Sharma


A frustrating bowler of immense potential.


Though in sport, where only performance matters, potential is indeed a dirty word. So Ishant has threatened to be a consistent strike bowler that India so need, but it is high time that he starts making this a reality.


This Tour will be decisive in Ishant's present and future prospects


Praveen Kumar


In my view a perfect defensive bowler. Though I found it strange his absence from the Test Team to play the West Indies. I put it down as the Selectors using it as a series to pass judgement on young pacemen like Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron. Though in the back of my head I was worried about Duncan Fletcher, and his past preference for aggressive fast bowlers. Duly excluding Praveen from Fletcher's preference in his bowlers.


This being said, if Praveen Kumar is overlooked for this series it would be a huge travesty of justice!


Umesh Yadav


A young bowler that in his first two Tests has shown great pace and great skill in his technique and ability to swing the ball. In Australian conditions we might see him make that glimpse of a spearheads potential become a very joyous reality for Indian fans


Pankaj Singh


A bowler that has performed admirable for a few season now in the Ranji with Rajasthan, but never given higher honours. He is strong with an ability to cut the ball both ways and gets good bounce due to his height. A recipe for success in Australian conditions


Ravichandran Ashwin


I love this young spinner, and though off spinners rarely if ever have had success in Australian conditions. It would not surprise me if Ashwin was a factor in the series because his unorthodox style of off spin might have a real shock value. Aside from this, he is a fabulous skilled bowler with a wonderful temperament.


Pragyan Ohja


Beautiful left arm spinner that has had his confidence boosted bowling to the dyslexic players of spin in the West Indies batsmen. A perfect spin twin for Ashwin, and though it is unlikely to see India field two spinners in this series with the exception of the Sydney Test. It will be intriguing to see who is ordained as India's number 1 spinner in the 1st Test


Reserve Wicket Keeper


Parthiv Patel


I've always loved this diminutive keeper from the first time I saw him in Australia in 2003/4. He is very neat and tidy as a keeper, and has great skill and courage as a batsman. I would even go so far to have him in the Team ahead of Dhoni. Though that wouldn't happen in a squillon years


Series Prediction


The key for the Indians in winning the series will be the effectiveness of it's bowling unit and haw it is backed up in the field. For you would be reasonably confident of the Indian batting mastering anything on offer from the Australian attack.


I think India will win in both Melbourne and Sydney, and Australia might eck out a win in Perth. So with a draw likely in Adelaide.


It means a 2/1 series win for INdia

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