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    September 12, 2008

    Australian test squad for India tour announced

    Cricket Australia have named a 15-man squad for the tour of India which has a couple of tour games and four tests. The tour begins Sep 27 and the fourth test is scheduled to start on Nov 6.

    Cricket Australia had hoodwinked the BCCI (or perhaps the BCCI got itself a wonderful quid pro quo in the form of half a dozen ODIs against Australia in Maseru, Lesotho) into agreeing to an extra tour game before the first test despite the fact that there was only one tour game before the first test during India's recent tour to Australia. In 2004, the BCCI had agreed for a a one week break between the second and third tests!

    In addition, there are tests at the Chinnaswamy Stadium (Bangalore) & Vidarbha Stadium (Nagpur). If you excluded the Nehru Stadium (Madras) which no longer hosts tests, these two are the only two venues in India where Australia have never lost at. The three venues where Australia has a poor record are at the Wankhede (being renovated for the 2011 World Cup), Green Park & Chepauk (which hosted tests against South Africa).

    Andrew Symonds is not included. There're a few 'bolt from the blue' selections, such as Siddle & Krejza. I am of the opinion that Krejza (an off-spinner) is included in the alphabet quota as a like-for-like replacement for Kasprowicz. Either that, or the Australian selectors admire Ekta Kapoor.

    Andrew Hilditch was trying his best to justify Jason Krejza's inclusion.
    Jason Krejza had a good season for Tasmania last year but is a selection very much for Indian conditions. The selectors felt right-arm finger spinners would perform well in India and Jason now has a chance to prove himself at the international level.
    I don't know where he got his numbers, but Krejza took 18 wickets from 7 games with an average of average of 47 and a strike rate of 79 during last season's Pura Cup. That's a "good season"? Okay!

    As for finger spinners performing well in India, there's only one finger spinner for a touring side who has at least 10 wickets at an average under 30, and that finger spinner is probably better than any finger-spinner in Australia's history.

    Nice spin, Andrew!

    The bowling attack is very likely to have Lee, Clark & Johnson with McGain being the first-choice spinner. In the absence of Symonds, Shane Watson or Simon Katich will provide extra bowling options, along with Michael Clarke. Of course, Watson's inclusion is unlikely since he will definitely slip in the aircraft toilet and break a bone.

    The batting is good enough to take care of itself, under most circumstances, with Hayden, Jacques, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey & Katich. Surprisingly, there's only one keeper chosen - Brad Haddin.

    There's still some doubt over whether Hayden and Ponting will be fit. I have no doubt that they will be, since there're 4 weeks before the first test starts. Even if they are not fit, they will play. We saw how unsettled Australia were against India at Perth when Hayden was missing.

    I guess Australia's first-choice XI will be: Hayden, Jacques, Ponting, Clarke, Hussey, Watson, Haddin, Lee, Johnson, McGain & Clark. I think Watson will play ahead of Katich since Clarke can do the part-time spinner role. In addition, as was the case in the 2004 series, Australia's plan will be to choke off the boundaries, and not bowl anything wide of the stumps. So Watson is a much better choice compared to Katich, who's more prone to bowling some half-trackers or wide balls.

    Interestingly though, aside from Clark, Australia don't have a metronome type of bowler. They had 3 in the last series - McGrath, Gillespie and Kasprowicz. Will that be a problem? During the tests in the West Indies 4-5 months ago, among the 3 quicks, only Clark had an economy rate under 3.

    You can vote in a poll on who the weakest link in the squad is. Your choices are McGain, Krejza, Jacques & Ponting.

    PS: Any bets on which Aussie great is likely to pass away during Australia's tour of India? In 2001, it was Bradman. In 2004, it was Miller.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 5:00 pm |
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    2 sledge(s):

    PS is in very bad taste....

    By Anonymous Anonymous (12-Sept-2008, 10:03:00 pm)  

    it will be interesting to see how this coming series goes between India and AUssies.

    By Blogger Dheeruyadav (23-Sept-2008, 7:08:00 pm)  

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