One-day series will be a bumper draw

Backdrop of a tremendous four Tests fought between India and Australia in the present summer will make for a great ODI tri-series.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2004 02:40 IST

The one-day series will be a bumper draw because of the backdrop of a tremendous four Tests fought between India and Australia in the present summer. It is developing into a fantastic rivalry. And lest anyone forgets, these two teams are the World Cup finalists! It brings the extra zing to the contests. Both the team would have been left dis-satisfied with the Test series as the result was inconclusive. Such is the nature of one-day cricket that results are a certainty.

Australia would certainly be looking to make a point in the one-day series. The likes of Adam Gilchrist who failed in the Tests would play as if to prove a point. It is amazing how so many people who have lost form suddenly get it back via one-day cricket.

Indians executed their plans against Gilchrist superbly in the Test series. It might be different in Tests because I have noticed Gilchrist enjoys the challenge of opening in one-day cricket from Tests where he comes at number seven. He would be determined, a la Tendulkar, to leave his stamp on Australian summer, such is the stuff champions are made of. They react to flaks in the strongest possible manner and Gilchrist would be no different.

One-day cricket would further suit Australia in terms of bowling. It is a different mindset for one-day games. Somebody like Brett Lee, who has not done well in Tests, would be gritting his teeth to get his respect back. In one-dayers, you know you are bowling only 10 overs and you do not need to space out your energy and resources. It would be a big change.

Nathan Bracken would also look to command respect though he would be missing the first few games because of injury. There are hosts of part-time bowlers like Andrew Symonds, Neil Harvey and Michael Bevan who could all mix well.

They would be up against an Indian batting line up which has come of age in this present tour. They are hunting as a pack instead of relying on one-off effort from their line-up.

They look extremely dangerous and destructive from bowlers point of view. But there would be a subtle change in one-day arena. The fields would be more defensive than they were in Tests. There would be singles to pick but big shots not always easy to manage which Indians still prefer to an extent.

Indians are good in taking the aerial route, the Sehwags, Tendulkars and Gangulys, though they did not need to do it much in Tests because of attacking fields.

Australians still would be required to really lift their fielding for they were found wanting in this area in Tests.

If I was the Indian captain, I would not ask Rahul Dravid to keep wickets. He is too valuable a batsman to be risked with wicket-keeping. It can hamstrung his performance, the pressure of performing dual roles. As young Parthiv Patel showed in Sydney, he can score runs quickly. His wicketkeeping might have been a letdown in Tests but he has the potential and can serve India long. I believe he has been taking lessons from Ian Healy. Let us put it this way, if I was the Indian captain I would look for some specialist person than risk Dravid behind the stumps.

Zimbabwe, the third team in the competition, would be looking to cause an upset or two and they are quite capable of doing so. They have had good preparation for the one-day series, playing two hard-fought games against Australia A and one against Western Australia.

Though everyone expects India and Australia to compete in the one-day finals, Zimbabwe is perfectly capable of causing upset wins. They can work together as a team and are possibly the best fielding side in the competition.

It happens with minnows for you do not tend to concentrate much on them and they sneak upon you without notice. Beware India and Australia -- Zimbabwe needs close attention.

First Published: Jan 08, 2004 17:18 IST