Short ball still a problem

Indian batsmen will be up against pace and bounce on the SA tour.

India's batsmen have found Mitchell Johnson bowling too hot to handle. (IANS)


Australia have done exceedingly well in the one-day series, and with rains spoiling two of the matches, it looks like the lead they have could well be decisive. They have batted quite superbly with skipper George Bailey leading from the front and Glenn Maxwell being the basher towards the end.

At the top, there has been Aaron Finch who has been consistency personified, and their batting has been up to anything that the Indians have bowled at them. Phil Hughes also has chipped away at the start, and despite Shane Watson not being in the best of form, the Australians have regularly topped 300 with ease.

In the fourth game in Ranchi, they came close; finishing with 295, so the batting has definitely been impressive.

In the bowling department, Mitchell Johnson has bowled really quick and made the Indian batsmen hop, though Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli have played him comfortably.

Importantly, Bailey has used Johnson to good effect, giving him short bursts, so he has been able to bowl at the same speed and not cut down on it. The pitches at the start of the season do not have as much turn as they do as more matches are played on them, and with rain still around all over the country, there has been a hint of moisture under the surface which has given the seam bowlers some encouragement. There is also some grass on the pitches which has added to the bounce that has helped Australia more than the Indians.

What the one-day series has done is give the Australians a good idea of who will be the men in form for the Ashes that begins next month, and the likes of Finch, Bailey, Maxwell and Johnson have done their chances no harm at all.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of some of the Indians who were looking to get a berth in the Test team after Sachin Tendulkar, for if some of them have struggled to cope with the bouncing ball on Indian pitches, what will they do in South Africa where there will no doubt be so much grass on the pitches that the cows could be well fed there.

The domestic first-class scene also has not given any real clues, though Gambhir getting a century against West Indian 'A' is a good sign. With the internationals hogging the limelight, not much was made of Baba Aparajith’s stunning debut, and there is no doubt that if he had been from the North or West Zones, there would be calls for him to be drafted into the Indian team straightaway.

Not many have got a double ton and a century in their first two Duleep Trophy games, so he certainly is a player to watch out for.

Even in the under-19 World Cup triumph last year, he played a big role, but as is the wont, only a few favourites got the credit for the win.

You can tell who the favourites are when they get the mention for just about every little thing. That the Indian media has already lined up Kohli as the new poster boy can be immediately realised when his picture appears every day in the media for arrivals at the hotels, practice and training.

This used to be the case with Tendulkar, and with ‘The Master’ announcing that he is quitting the game next month, the media has been remarkably quick in latching on to Kohli and plastering him all over their pages.

It’s not that Kohli doesn’t deserve it, for he has been simply outstanding. But when the same people talk of cricket being a team sport, why focus only on a few favourites? PMG


Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.


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