Jason Gillespie, former Australian cricket team fast bowler, has suggested Glenn Maxwell may deserve a spot in Australia’s line-up at the expense of Mitchell Marsh should the baggy greens consider restructuring their winning formula.
Australia beat India in the first match of a four-Test series which began in Pune’s Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium. It was the first time Australia had won an away Test against India since their celebrated series win in 2004.
The Aussies had been written off before the series began with several former Indian cricketers, most notably Harbhajan Singh, expecting a whitewash.
However, the visitors overcame the odds to stun the Indian team.
While Gillespie said it wouldn’t be prudent to alter a winning side, he saw the withdrawal of Marsh for the inclusion of Maxwell as the most logical replacement.
While he said that Marsh had done well enough with the bat in the first Test despite not being needed to put in a big shift with his bowling abilities, Maxwell’s ability to play spin would hep balance the side perfectly.
“I think it’d be unlikely [they’d make any changes]. I think the only guy under pressure to keep his spot will be Mitchell Marsh, who didn’t bowl in the Test and is the back-up for the seamers,” Gillespie told EON Sports radio.
“I think Mitch will stay in; he made 31 in the second innings in a low-scoring game so he’s probably done enough, just, to hang on.
“But if they feel they can get away with two seamers, I’d be tempted to potentially play someone like Maxwell. He’s a fine player of spin [and] I think he’s an underrated long-form player.
“The reason I say that is he judges length very quickly and that’s the key to batting. And I think on these surfaces he could be quite fearless and take the attack to the Indian spinners. And I think he could do a decent job.”
Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon did remarkably well in the first Test in Pune as the dry pitch played in favour of the visiting spinners.
Gillespie predicted that the second Test in Bangalore would not have a pitch as crumbly as in the first match which would bring Australia’s pacers further into play; meaning Marsh might be needed after all.
“I’d envisage in Bangalore, they’d need the back-up seam option. The wicket won’t be as bad as it was in Pune so I think Mitch’s bowling will be the real key,” Gillespie said.
BIGGEST TEST WIN
Gillespie was a key part of the last Australia squad to win a Test match in India in 2004.
The side built on the pace attack of Gillespie, Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz helped deliver a 2-1 series victory for the visiting Aussies.
The last Test series win for Australia in India had come in 1969 and the victory 13 years ago was considered a big achievement.
However, Gillespie believes Steve Smith and his teammates have surpassed that feat especially since the current squad were easily written off and not comparable in personal achievement as the legendary players that visited India in 2004.
“I think it’s one of, if not the best performance by an Australian side overseas pretty much ever,” he said.
“With everything that was going against them, I think it’s right up there.”
SERIES WIN ON CARDS
The former quick also said the Pune Test win had put the ball was in Australia’s court and that Smith’s team could push on for a series win.
India had not lost a home Test match since 2012 but the underdog Australian side managed to upset the odds which were against them.
“I really do [think they can win the series]. I don’t see why not,” he said.
“India have to make the play here and take some risks and be ultra-positive. Australia just need to play, take the games deep, absorb pressure [and] put pressure on the bowlers at times. And with the ball, it’s just a patience game.
“The simpler the Australian boys keep it, the longer the games go, the Indians will start to panic a little bit. They’ll start to create things when they’re not there and that’s when they mistakes will come in.”