Yusuf Pathan hits for a six during the ICC Cricket World Cup group B match against Ireland in Bangalore.
The India-Australia clash is the big game of the tournament, if not the biggest. It will make one ponder whether the winner could become the biggest contender for the Cup. Is such a feeling is right or wrong? Time will tell.
Australia will have more questions to answer than India. Do they need an extra batsman at No. 7 or will they continue with Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson at seven and eight? To get to this answer, Ricky Ponting will first need to ask himself, does he have the confidence in Smith to bowl him under pressure? He didn't do that against Pakistan when he needed to pick wickets! So can he do it against the best players of spin? If he can't, will he get in David Hussey at seven to strengthen the wobbly-looking batting line-up? Can Ponting get six overs from Michael Clarke and Hussey to fill up either Jason Krejza or Smith's bowling form? It seems he might go for Hussey.
More than that, what surprises me about Australia is their batting. The way the current lot has gone about the business, it has not looked convincing. It gives a picture of lack of faith and negative mindset. If they can't get out of this mindset, they would be in serious trouble as India will be throwing a lot of spin.
Raina or Yusuf?
Virender Sehwag will walk back into the side. As for the rest, I believe there will be a toss-up between Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan.
Both have not delivered with the bat but if you have Raina in the side, it lifts your fielding. He also is a part-time spinner and is surely the man with the golden arm. Dhoni will be comfortable with the rest of the bowling combination which he had in Chennai.
India will have to guard against a late order collapse, which fared better against the West Indies. I will remind them by saying that it is not only about scoring runs in the batting Powerplay. It is more about the way you bat in those five overs according to the situation.
No tinkering around
I read Rahul Dravid's interview a few days back and I agree that the wicket at Ahmedabad shouldn't be tampered with. I have played with this current lot of India batters and know that all of them like the ball to come on. Also, with the likes of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait around, one wouldn't like to bat on a crumbling pitch.
What would a captain do if he wins the toss at Ahmedabad? I don't think either will take a chance and will bat first.