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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Cricket

Open for debate... but not up for grabs
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi & Mumbai, October 19, 2012
First Published: 23:48 IST(19/10/2012)
Last Updated: 11:08 IST(20/10/2012)

Having experienced the quality firsthand last season, the Indian team is aware that against England and Australia, they will be up against two of the best new-ball attacks in world cricket.

Even taking into account that the battles this time will be fought in the sub-continent conditions, there's no mistaking that James Anderson & Co have the ammo to test any batting line-up.

Expert opinion is unanimous that the key to this summer's success will be in how the Indian openers stand up to the pace arsenal in their back-to-back home series.

The focus will again be on the Delhi duo of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. Opening options

The numbers reveal the importance of their role, with their good performances being directly related to India's success, and the team's poor recent run coinciding with the opening pair's below par showing.

Given their past records, the Delhi pair will still be the frontrunners when the selectors sit down to pick the team for the first Test, but after losing all four Tests, both in England and Australia, the five wise men will definitely be weighing their backup options too.

And, Sandeep Patil's selection committee will surely be buoyed by some of the early showings in the domestic season.

While the volume of runs from the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay is impressive, the selectors will be considering the batting-friendly conditions and the past records of the Sehwag-Gambhir pair.


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