Veeru gets totally cocky and claims that India are on par with Australia
and that India could beat Australia later this year. Last week Ganguly said that India were a better bowling side now
given that in 2001, Harbhajan was the only bowler of note.
I'm a little worried at this belligerent attitude. I realize the team is quite confident of defeating Australia later this year. But I think we're much better of going into the series as the underdogs. We must try to play up Australia's chances. That has worked very well in the recent past. Australia, in 1997/8
, were a very fine side and coming on the back of having won the unofficial world championship against South Africa. Even though India had a very good batting lineup and a good spin attack, Australia had Warne. Warne ultimately made no impression and India won.
Three years ago, Australia were in India
having won 15 tests in a row, an unprecedented feat. This time Brett Lee was the only cog missing in their bowling wheel. Yet, India pulled off a stunning coup after Australia's 16th consecutive test win at Bombay. This time around, India's bowling lineup was threadbare with Harbhajan Singh being the only bowler to play all 3 tests while Zaheer played in 2. Harbhajan took 32 wickets while Zaheer and Tendulkar were next best, with 3 each.
I still think the onus is on Australia to win in India to prove two things:
- The win in Sri Lanka wasn't a fluke
- Australia's fortunes are not on a downswing following the Waughs' retirement and the imminent exit of McGrath & Warne.
That said, India has to prove that its successes in Australia and Pakistan werent flukes either. But in my opinion, we're better off playing underdog and letting the Australians come at us. Just enlist Muhammad Ali as the strategist and adopt the tactics he used against Foreman in the 'Rumble in the Jungle'
fight at Kinshasa.