Tactics, planning have been ridiculous

  • Australia's Clint McKay, center, celebrates the wicket of India's Rohit Sharma, with Ricky Ponting, left, and Ryan Harris, right, during their one day international match ...

  • MS Dhoni cuts a delivery from the Australian bowling in their international one day cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).  AFP PHOTO / ...

  • MS Dhoni reacts after teammate Ravichandran Ashwin was run out by Australia in their international one day cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)AFP ...

  • Paceman Vinay Kumar leaps high to field the ball off his own bowling from the Australian batsman in their international one day cricket match at ...

  • Australian paceman Mitchell Starc celebrates dismissing Gautam Gambhir in their international one day cricket match at the Melbourne.AFP PHOTO / William WEST

  • Sachin Tendulkar walks off after been dismissed by Australian paceman Mitchell Starc in their international one day cricket match at the Melbourne.AFP PHOTO / William ...

  • India's Ranganath Vinay Kumar, center, celebrates with a teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's  ,during their one cay international cricket match at the MCG ...

  • Suresh Raina (L) celebrates with his teammate Manoj Tiwary after catching Australia's Ricky Ponting out during their one-day series cricket match at the Melbourne. Reuters/Brandon Malone

  • David Warner of Australia is bowled by ,Vinay Kumar of India during their one-day series cricket match at the Melbourne.Reuters/Brandon Malone

  • India's Praveen Kumar appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Australia's Michael Clarke during their one day international cricket match at the MCG in Melbourne (AP ...

The second T20 game, where the Australians experimented a bit with the side, provided the Indians a much-needed respite on this tour but, unfortunately, it didn't help them in the first ODI of the tri-series. I am truly baffled by India's tactics. Winning the toss and bowling first is not what you do time and again in Australia. I understand there was rain around the corner but in Australia, it's always easy to bat first and put runs on the board under the sun and to bowl second as there is a bit more for the bowler. It seams around and bounces around a bit more.

Also, in these conditions you don't select a team that you would regularly play in the subcontinent. Two medium pacers and three regular spinners aren't going to win you matches here. In the middle and closure of the innings, when the Australians had stepped up a gear, I am sure MS Dhoni must have felt handicapped with his bowling options. Praveen Kumar and Vinay Kumar had almost finished their quota before the rain interruption.

Viru 'rested'
When Michael Clarke went for the toss, he must have been a happy man knowing that Virender Sehwag was 'rested'. When we talk about this format of cricket, his last innings was the double hundred. Though it was some time back and his current form has been ordinary, but a fit Sehwag has to be playing. What does the team management mean by 'resting' him in the first game of a tri-series? It isn't that he has scored plenty prior to this game to deserve a 'rest'. That's why I say that the tactics and the planning by the Indians throughout this tour have been ridiculous.

Also, the opening fixture was not the first time that Gautam Gambhir pushed away from the body and got dismissed. In the last game he got the runs but even then he was looking more to play behind the wickets. His technique has been found wanting and surprisingly he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. Whenever the ball has bounced and seamed more, he has looked vulnerable.

At the position when the game was restarted, India looked to be the favourites to win, but once again their bowling options made the difference. Matthew Wade played a mature knock and this time we got to see the other side of his batting which was more consolidating with the right mix of aggression. The Hussey brothers then joined in. David Hussey is very dangerous against spinners and medium pacers so India's bowling suited his game perfectly.

At another time, the problems back home could have been an excuse but India's inability to enforce a challenge has been the order of this tour. In the clash of two struggling sides, India play their next game against Sri Lanka at Perth and if senses prevail they will at least play more fast bowlers and hopefully not rest Sehwag.

(The writer is a former Australia Opener)

 

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