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A contrasting tale of two teams

india Updated: Sep 27, 2009 23:16 IST
Sunil Gavaskar

On the day India and Australia played their first games of the ICC Champions Trophy, the contrast in attitudes was stark. Despite having to play on a wicket where the bounce was often steep, the Australians made a dogged effort to hang in there and counter the conditions.

The inexperienced West Indian attack had just about every Australian batsman hopping and Ricky Ponting had to bring all his skill into play to stave the bowers off.

Then, when the Aussies were on the ropes, the West Indian bowlers showed their inexperience by allowing Mitchell Johnson to swing his bat merrily and get his team to a total that looked beyond the second string West Indian team.

The West Indians made a spirited reply and at one stage Ricky Ponting looked a bit worried but once again the inexperience of the West Indians was evident as they lost the last five wickets within the space of a few overs.

The Australians just did not give up on the field even when the West Indians were building partnerships and were relentlessly at the batsmen.

In contrast, the Indians seemed as if they had little idea how to counter the partnership between Shoaib Malik and experienced Mohammad Yousuf.

The Indian skipper has blamed the bowlers and that is understandable as Pakistan were allowed to get over 300 runs, but the signs have been there for some time now that the seam bowlers, with the exception of Ashish Nehra, are struggling for rhythm and are way short of confidence.

It's all very well not to make drastic changes to the squad but there comes a time when a player has to be dropped if only to allow him to reflect on why he is not playing as well as he is known to.

India now have to win both the remaining matches in their group and playing against an in-form Australian team on these bouncy pitches is not going to be easy.

So, unless a miracle happens and the Indians lift themselves up for a superhuman effort, their campaign may come to an end even before it has begun.

I am hoping the team proves me wrong.