Rahul Dravid plays a shot during fifth day's play of the third Test cricket match between India and the West Indies at The Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
India is back in Australia after four years with the mission of putting it across the home team for the first time ever. This series will define India's cricketing future, and if Dhoni & Co comes out successful in the Tests, the agony of the England series will be wiped out. The image of Indian cricket had taken a huge beating after the forgettable tour.
The tour of the West Indies was hugely successful, but Australia in their backyard will be a different cup of tea. India have done well in Australia on the past few tours. In 2003, it was Australia who somehow managed to save the series. In 2007, India won in Perth, a ground where the Aussies were considered invincible. This time around, we can hope to come out with flying colours.
Australian cricket is in a rebuilding phase ever since the likes of McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden, Gillespie and Langer retired. It is quite natural that it will take some time for the new generation to settle down. We have seen the West Indies go into a downward spiral after the likes of Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Malcolm Marshall called it quits.
What is important is that when teams go through such a phase, selectors and officials should not panic. They should allow the new generation to settle down, as resurrection will not happen overnight. But I get the feeling that the Aussie officials have pressed the panic button a bit early. To add to their worries, Ricky Ponting is struggling. During transition, it's important that your best players hang around in good form to allow the youngsters that extra breathing space, but because of Ponting's form, the pressure on Aussie batting has mounted.
They say form is temporary and class permanent as has been the case with Rahul Dravid and Ponting can take inspiration from the Indian. The former Australian skipper has always stood out against the Indians, if one may recall his hundred against India in the World Cup quarterfinal, at a time when he was struggling.
The Australian batting has been dented by the lack of steady openers and the form of Mike Hussey. But, I am sure both know that it takes one innings to turn things around. Their skipper's support is praiseworthy, which, in tough times, can be a huge morale booster.
Indian cricket is a prime example of that. Ever since the madness of doing away with the seniors has been put in the graveyard, the likes of Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Zaheer, Sachin are playing alongside Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and R Ashwin.
The opening was a worry in England but with Sehwag and Gambhir available, it shouldn't be a problem. Much will depend on Zaheer and Ishant. If Zak can call the shots then Ishant, Yadav and Ashwin will surely create pressure on the Aussies.
This is the best chance to get the Aussies. 360 corporate the former India captain is BCCI's technical committee head.