Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Australia Beats itself before a ball is bowled in India

At present, winning a Test series in India is the toughest assignment in the game.

With the conditions suiting a formidable Indian line-up to a tee along with emphasising the diminished nature of touring teams to perform adequately away from the comforts of home in this Age. Fellow Asian teams due to their familiarity and associated demands can at least hold their own as Bangladesh showed in their combative display recently but when it is a Western opposition it is akin to 'dead men walking'.

Since the beginning of 2015, India has won 10 Tests from 12 matches with no losses against non-Asian touring teams.

Conclusions made to explain their dominance smack of hysteria revolving around doctored pitches from clueless pundits embodied in emotive catch cries such as 'raging turners' or 'dustbowls.' The irony is the pitches in both the New Zealand and England series were overly kind to the touring teams, predominantly batting friendly as well as being anything but spin friendly. A few deliveries might have misbehaved on day 4&5, spitting and spinning sharply out of the rough but were characteristic of a wearing Test pitch.

Much of the success of the Indian spinners was due to clever variations coupled with real guile rather than rearing spin- take a moment to think of how lethal the 'straight one' has become recently in Asia. With batsmen obsessing over spin leading to having their pants pulled down by its consistent absence.

A delightful double bluff created by perception accentuating the Indian might.

Touring teams obsess over spin not only usurping its batting but taking it a step further by feeling the need to compromise their set ups to model India's line up deluded to thinking they can 'outfox the quintessential fox.' 

Next cab off the rank Australia, the poster child.

A Team armed with an excellent pace battery feeling compelled to compromise the main strength in their 11 by replacing quicks with spinners. It is inevitable that Australia will go into most matches with a spin duo with adding a third even a possibility.

If one of Australia's sincerest threats in Josh Hazelwood is sacrificed as touted to accommodate the third spinner it will arguably be one of the hugest selection gaffs ever

Begging the question why?

One can justify Steven O'Keefe being the primary spinner in the team with him a defence minded bowler perfectly suited to compliment the pacemen. Also shielded by always having an escape route when under siege by bowling cynical lines into the rough with fields in support.

Nathan Lyon inclusion is inevitable but fractures the line up.

His career average in Asia of 42.57 points to his lack of penetration along with an inability to act as a holding bowler in support of the rest of the attack as an economy rate of 3.67 runs per over conveys. It compels the need for a 'virtual crutch' to prop him up in the form of an all rounder at 6 to compensate for his failure to be the stock bowler able to get through 20-25 overs in a day in Asia.

The greatest downside of Lyon is his frail temperament.

Batsmen sense fear in him when they attack which is contrary to other accomplished spinners who view this as facilitating their threat. The worrying accompaniment is the lack of faith Captain Steven Smith has in him as was obvious for all to see in the series away to Sri Lanka and at home against South Africa.

Jackson Bird in support of an attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazelwood and Stephen O'Keefe would be a wiser selection with Steven Smith as a part time option with his leg spin. A call made more valid with pacemen having the most success against the vaunted Indian batting line up in recent tours from Western teams.

The Re-Jigged Top 6

WHY??????????


The debate over Usman Khawaja and Matt Renshaw is absurd.

With it disrupting a newly formed strength of the team in its top 3.

Granted, Khawaja has been exposed against spin previously leaving huge doubts on his ability to be valid against it.

But, after a very impressive Aussie Summer at least deserves a chance.

Any talk of dropping Renshaw is sincere madness with it having zero justification.

With the youngster offering a perfect foil for the attack minded Dave Warner along with showing great results with the bat. Away from the potential in his batting, he has proven to be exceptional at first slip which is a crucial fielding position that is not easy to replace.

Shaun Marsh's inclusion is mandatory in Asia backed by his average 78.6 with two centuries but it should not be at the expense of the aforementioned duo.

Rather, Marsh should be preferred in the top 6 with bits and pieces players like Glenn Maxwell/Mitch Marsh who for some reason are viewed as certainties to contest for the number 6 position, jettisoned.

Selecting either at 6 means the Aussie tail starts at 6, as a recent look at the batting performances of both in the Sheffield Shield with bat

Mitch Marsh- average of 6.5 with no centuries

Glenn Maxwell- average of 25.8 with one 50


With Matthew Wade averaging only 12.5 since his return to the Test team playing an 'all rounder' at 6 rather than a specialist batsman would create a very exploitable soft underbelly in Australia's batting.

It becomes defining with the combination of few in the Aussie top 6 inspiring faith against spin along with the crucial nature of lower middle order runs in Tests in Asia.

Selecting a Questionable Gloveman in Asia!


The re-inclusion of Matthew Wade after a 3-year absence from the Test team was justified due to the 'leadership' he adds to the team in support of Captain Steven Smith.

Valid reasoning with Smith's Captaincy under siege after the whitewash away to Sri Lanka followed by the home defeat to South Africa. Failures, where the naivety of his leadership stood out along with the absence of senior players in support.

Wade has provided this taking real acid off Smith

The downside is his keeping is still an accident waiting to happen that stood out despite predominantly standing back in very true home conditions.

With him expected to mostly be up at the stumps keeping to spin in conditions that might misbehave his glovework foibles will be magnified to the point of being catastrophic.

Chris Hartley-Anyone????????


The Virat Kohli Obsession 


No doubt Australia has to pay real respect to the peerless nature of the Indian Captain with him dominating with bat in recent home series.

The worry is it delving into obsession, taking the focus away from the fulcrum of the Indian batting in its formidable top 3. A trio that makes the bed to not only lie in for Kohli and the rest of the batting but facilitates them to come in and plunder.

The duo of Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara always go unnoticed.

Both are India's best batsmen against spin and are a delightful blend of fire and ice in their style. With Vijay the more attack-minded batsman that can be murderous against spinners contrasted by the more resolute Pujara.

They need to be key targets for the Aussies for if they are allowed to become factors they will destroy the Aussie spinners limiting the potential threat of the Aussie pacemen.

Series Prediction


In looking at the destiny of this series, I take a philosophical viewpoint revolving around the glasses....

Rather than viewing Australia's glass either half full compared to half empty, I see it as the glass no longer existing through the self-defeating decisions they have made and are likely to accentuate.

Which will lead to the Team suffering a 4th straight whitewash in Asia 


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