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Oz give India wake-up call

cricket Updated: Oct 02, 2007 00:02 IST
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Even though there was no result to the Bangalore one-dayer, the Australians did enough in the 53 overs available to give the Indians a wake-up call. There was no denying that it was the Australian team that was in the box seat when the elements intervened.

The hosts have been caught in a swirl of celebrations after their win at the Twenty20 World Cup, and to be fair to them, it was a tough ask to be playing a 50-overs game five days after the final in Johannesburg. The rains at Bangalore give MS Dhoni and his men a couple of days to catch their breath.

There was some controversy about Adam Gilchrist wanting to play and Dhoni reluctant to be part of a 20-over chase. I am sure the final call was from the umpires, but if there was hesitancy on the part of the Indians, the Australians will be quick to see it as a sign of weakness.

The good form of the middle order must be a big relief for Gilchrist. Michael Clarke looked in excellent form on Saturday, which is not surprising because he has always been very adept at playing spin. Clarke had hardly got any batting in South Africa, and it was important or somebody to come up with a good knock in the absence of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey. Brad Haddin and James Hopes also made full use of the opportunity they got in the absence of the regulars. The bowlers are also looking pretty good, with Mitchell Johnson once again proving that he is a bowler to watch out for.

For the Indians, the absence of Sourav Ganguly would be unsettling, but it would give one of the youngsters an opportunity to prove himself in Kochi. Ganguly's injury and Sachin Tendulkar's zero would once again fuel the age debate.

In Tendulkar's defence, it's always hard to bat when it's drizzling and you know that the umpires will call off play any moment. I don't think any of these guys should feel pressured by their age. What they should look at is whether they are adding value to the side and improving themselves as players. If the answer to both these questions is yes, there is no reason for them to call it a day. If the answer is no, then the selectors are justified in looking elsewhere.