Down Under, it won?t be thunder
The Indian team, now touring Australia, are up against one of the most lethal teams in the history of the game.india Updated: Dec 06, 2003 13:53 IST
To say that things are not going to be easy will be understating facts. The Indian team, now touring Australia, are up against one of the most lethal teams in the history of the game. They are also playing in conditions— pacy and bouncy— which their batsmen dislike a lot.
They also have a bowling attack that seems to lack penetration and verve.
Under the circumstances, if the Indians manage to do well — and that does not mean winning — but standing up to the Australians and not going down without a fight, it would be a great achievement.
We take a look here at the arsenal at India's disposal and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Can the Indian pacers exploit the conditions to their advantage? And what about the spin option?
Can a Harbhajan Singh or an Anil Kumble be expected to deliver? And do India have the batting strength to out-think and out-gun the mighty Australians?
On the face of it, India may lack an all-round team to upset the formidable Australians but in cricket, anything can happen, even a miracle…
TEAM INDIA: ITS STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Strengths: Has sound foot-work against fast bowling and right kind of shuffle and body movement to tackle the rising ball. His cool, unflappable temperament would be his main strength in conditions tailor-made for them.
Weaknesses: He sticks around without moving the scoreboard. But in conditions where the ball tends to do a lot, it is important to attack a bit more. Long hours of vigil without much productivity can also put pressure on the other batsman. Runs have to be scored otherwise he may end up spending hours at the crease without much to show.
Strengths: He loves to attack and is a great timer of the ball. He is a strong cutter of the ball and does not hesitate having a go at the rising ball. He has also tightened his game around the off-stump. He has good balance and fine temperament.
Weaknesses: He has little or no footwork and if his attacking game does not come good, he could be struggling badly. He is also suspect against the short ball. He tends to relax in the middle of an innings. His fitness is suspect and is also a slow runner between the wickets.
Strengths: A brutal hitter of the ball with wide range of strokes on the off side, particulary the cut and the drive. Has the ability to take away the game from opponents in no time. He can be tremendous on wickets where the ball comes onto the bat and the bowlers look to intimidate the batsman.
Weaknesses: Till the going is good, he appears to be a match-winner. But the problem arises when he can't get going. His major test will be how he tackles the short ball. Even on slow Indian wickets he has looked vulnerable against the rising ball. He is sure to get a large dosage of short-stuff aimed at his ribcage and if he fails to counter-attack and show that he can pull and hook, he is going to end up a loser.
SOURAV GANGULY, CAPTAIN
Strengths: As a skipper he has the right attitude to counter the aggressive and at times even abrasive behaviour of the Australians. As a batsman he is not afraid to play his shots and his great strength comes from his off-side play. He also is a big-match player and has a sense of occasion which leads him to perform better under pressure.
Weaknesses: If things are not going well for him, he tends to remain aloof and show a strange lack of involvement on the field. He will need to innovate much more than he has done so far as a leader and will have to show to the world that he can handle the short stuff. Otherwise, he could well end up as a failure.
Strengths: He can adapt himself to any kind of wicket. His strokeplay gets a new dimension on wickets where the ball bounces and comes onto the bat. The on side strokes against the short, rising ball, which he desists from playing on the slow tracks of the sub-continent, are given their full expression on wickets like the ones in Australia. He can be brutal when he decides to pull and hook, the two strokes that should fetch him many runs.
Weaknesses: It is hard to say what his weakness is. He can be his own enemy as he tends to put too much of pressure on himself and believes that if he fails the team is bound to fall apart. This could be one reason why he, at times, fails in the second innings, when the team requires him to score the most. Also playing horizontal bat shots with the very heavy bat he uses may tire him out faster and he may not be able to play long, big innings, which he will be needed to play in almost every innings.
RAHUL DRAVID, VICE CAPTAIN
Strengths: He has loads of patience, immaculate technique and the ability to withstand any kind of pressure. There is nothing which he can't do better than the best. His mental toughness and the ability to wear down the opposition bowlers have helped him overcome many an adverse situation. Has three strokes -- the cut, hook and pull -- without which no batsman can hope to succeed on bouncier tracks.
Weaknesses: He needs to remember what happened to him when he was in Australia the last time around in 2000. He handled the pace attack with great aplomb but he never gave a thought to keep the scoreboard moving. The end result was that Dravid may have given a fine exhibition of how to play fast bowling but had very little to show by way of scores. He needs to attack --- and he’s shown that he can do it if required to --- otherwise, like the last time, he could end up as a failure.