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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Can the Indians come back in the series?

After the Sydney test match, the Indians must be feeling what else is required to stop the Aussie parade. There is not much opposition to the fact that the world record of continuous wins, established by Steve Waugh's Australians, will be broken in the Perth test match. The Indians would do well to contest this test in the same spirit as the Sydney test rather than lose sleep on the surface that will be prepared.

The Perth test has an interesting history to it. After the Indians drew the series last time they were in Australia, when the time came for the iterinary to be written for the 2007-08 series, the Perth venue was supposedly the first one listed by the Aussie Board. Obviously, they see this as one of the sureshot victories as part of the series. From the Indian perspective, it is important that they dont lose the battle in their minds. They have gained ground by coming back from the humiliating loss in the Melbourne test. Anil Kumble will do well to instruct and cajole his team to keep improving and concentrate on pulling one back.

From the team composition, it looks like Yuvraj Singh will sit out. Looks like his personal life is creating havoc over his cricketing one. During the World Cup (50-overs in West Indies), it was rumored that he split with his longtime girl-friend Kim. This was stated as one of the reasons why he didnt perform well then. Now, it is the linking of the new Bollywood superstar Dipika Padukone which has made his visits to the crease so brief. Love and Yuvraj probably dont go well together on the cricket field!!!

Virender Sehwag and Irfan Pathan are the candidates who might get a chance in the Perth test. Wasim Jaffer might miss out even though he scored a fifty in the warm-up match. He doesnt seem to be the confident batsman who did well in the Pakistan series. Irfan can provide good backup in the batting department while bolstering the bowling attack. Harbhajan Singh might play, on what is predicted to be tbe fastest pitch in the world, as the bounce typically helps his style of bowling. Ishant Sharma has been improving every game and his bowling is similar to Javagal Srinath in the 1991-92 series - the huge inswingers is so identical!!!

Gary Kirsten will join the team and that means good news to the team. There has been no news on whether the Indians managed to meet the psychologist in Oz land. This will definitely make their minds stronger and focus clearly on the task ahead. Especially Bhajji. The way he has been 'targeted' by the Aussies in mind-games - he must be wishing he was in some other place. If not him, it was sure that the Aussies were looking forward to Sreesanth - both of them are known to be emotionally fragile and ready to take up the challenge thrown by the Aussies. But for Sree's injury, he could not participate in this tour - which made Bhajji the sitting duck for the Aussies.

On the Aussie eleven, it looks like Matthew Hayden and Brad Hogg might sit out, depending on their comebacks from injuries. That will give chances to Chris Rogers and Shaun Tait. India will welcome these changes since Hayden and Hogg have troubled them many times during the first two tests. It is interesting to see how the Aussie coach takes care of the team mentally. The Sydney test and the furore later must have been quite different to what an Aussie team normally goes through after a 100-run win!!!

There will be a lot of banter on the field surely and the spirit in which the first test was played will not be present. But, the teams will do well to remember that it is a game of cricket and carry on with their tasks, in the way the great game should be played.
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