October 23, 2008

Australia in India 2008-09

Mohali and after


India's crushing win against Australia in the second Test at Mohali has certainly spiced up issues related to both teams.

It wasn't a Test to remember for Ricky Ponting, India v Australia, 2nd Test, Mohali, 5th day, October 21, 2008
 © Getty Images


The last time Ponting was under sustained pressure as a captain was during the 2005 Ashes. A senior player on the tour confided that after the Edgbaston Test, the Australians had resigned to defeat -- hardly a ringing endorsement of Ponting’s ability to inspire, just as his tirade at Duncan Fletcher at Trent Bridge spoke volumes for his default position under stress. Lawrence Booth in his blog in the Wisden Cricketer says doubts have risen again over the Australian captain's man-management skills after the Australian media's treatment of Ponting’s run-in with Brett Lee at Mohali.

A captain is only as good as the bowlers at his disposal, which is a truth Ponting may only just be discovering. But a good captain will also make the most of his resources and by gifting India’s openers singles all round the ground on the third evening – a policy that allowed Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to put on 100 in 23 overs before stumps – Ponting got it badly wrong.

On the other side, Prem Panicker in his blog believes that it is up to Anil Kumble to judge his match-fitness of his shoulder, confidence level, reading of the Kotla pitch and the selection strategies that need to be employed to keep India in front and, if possible, nail the series before heading into the final Test.

He will make that decision in the next few days, and in course of the Kotla Test, he will be proved right or wrong. But whatever the outcome of that trial—he could get you a ten for, or go wicketless, and either situation will provide grist for ‘I told you sos’—it is fair to suggest that his decision would have been taken in all honesty. He has never, in all these years, given you reason to think otherwise.

Every successful 'leggie' carries a sense of mystique around, and Amit Mishra, though still a novice is already showing the craft and charisma that could make him a star. Simon Briggs in the Telegraph is excited about Mishra's arrival on the international scene after his flying start in Mohali.

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