ICC Test rankings

"I don't rate India a long-term No.1" - Ian Chappell

Cricinfo staff

January 12, 2010

Comments: 143 | Text size: A | A

The Indian team and management celebrate going No. 1, India v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 5th day, December 6, 2009
Ian Chappell: "I am struggling to find one champion bowler in that line-up" © Associated Press

Former Australian captain and leading commentator Ian Chappell has said India don't have the resources to retain their No.1 spot in the ICC Test rankings for a long enough period to emulate Australia and the great West Indies teams of the past. Chappell said that India's batting alone will not sustain them and to do so, they will have to unearth a couple of champion bowlers.

Chappell and former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar aired their views in Time Out, Cricinfo's new fortnightly audio show hosted by the leading commentator Harsha Bhogle. India bagged the top ranking from Australia after beating Sri Lanka 2-0 in the three-Test series at home last month. India jumped from No. 3 to No.1 for first time since the rankings came into place in May 2001.

Manjrekar said a big reason for India's success is the arrival of a strong opening pair in Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, and the ability to adjust to foreign conditions.

"It's a huge asset to have, a stable opening pair. I noticed a change in India's batting around the time Sourav Ganguly was leading India, John Wright was in charge, and I saw India playing on foreign pitches," Manjrekar said. "I found that the new generation of Indian batsmen could play the pull shot, the cut shot, and they were pretty good against the short deliveries."

However, Chappell felt that India have completed only half the job of being a well-rounded team.

"I don't think great teams are built on opening batting partnerships. But to me, there is a far more important thing, and this is one reason why I don't rate India as a long-term No.1, " Chappell said. "I think you have got to have two champion bowlers in your line-up to be a long-term successful cricket team. That is where India is falling down at the moment.

"When I look at the averages and the strike-rates for India in the last 12 months, I don't see two champion bowlers. In fact, I am struggling to find one champion bowler in that line-up. They've got some good bowlers. Sure, they have got a very good batting line-up, but the bowling is really not good enough to see them win consistently all around the world."

Over the last two years, India have played 20 Tests, winning nine and losing three. Three of those wins have come against Australia, including one in Perth during their last tour in 2007-08. Chappell acknowledged that India had performed above themselves in the last two tours of Australia, but their success would have tasted much better had they beaten them while they were still a major force in international cricket.

Since the collective retirement of their champion players like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer and later Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, Australia haven't produced the same level of consistency in results.

"I would have thought it was a greater achievement if they had caught up with Australia while Australia was still very much a great side, rather than waiting for Australia to come back to the field," Chappell said. "That to me has been the disappointing thing. It seems to me that the other teams have almost thrown their hands and said that 'it's hard to beat them, we will just wait for them to fall back and then we will catch them'."

There's lots more on the first episode of Time Out. Harsha, Sanjay and Ian discuss Pakistan's debacle in the Sydney Test; Ian recounts an enthralling Sydney Test that he was part of, and a look at teams who have pulled off such Houdini acts. Have a listen here.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by MaidanPlayer on (January 14, 2010, 8:19 GMT)

Well Mr Chappel I too would have called Australia a truly great side if they had caught up with West Indies while West Indies was still very much the greatest side ever, rather than waiting for WI to come back to the field" LoL

Posted by Sanjvar on (January 14, 2010, 8:06 GMT)

Whilst India could do with two good fast bowlers, Ian should have scrutinised India's record (and specially the performance of our fast bowlers since 2000). It is not just batting that has helped us win overseas during this time. India now has a good bunch of fast and seam bowlers who have done their job more than adequately during this time. Other countries reputed for their fast bowling e.g. Pak, SA and Aus, inspite of having good fast bowlers have not really stood out as is made out by Western commentators/media and the like. India now has a good bunch of fast bowlers and the more the merrier. This article smells more of Ian's disappointment for India having replaced Aus at the top. And I must mention, this is typical of Aussies (having lived here for a long time, I can vouch for that). The crap Ian's mentioned about öther nations catching up after Aus best have left is bullshit. Eg. - Steve Waugh could not beat Ind in India with his awesome team that included Mcgrath, Warne and co.

Posted by kvirdi on (January 14, 2010, 7:26 GMT)

Mr. Chapell comments show that defeat don't get well with Aussies. We have very good batting line up in all the formats and a decent bowling line up and options. I would like to remind Mr. Chapell that Indian has won alomst equal number of tests from Aus in last 10 years when they were ruling the international cricket and all the greats were still around. Right now three teams (Ind, Aus and SA) can bet for No-1 spot and it will be interesting to see how we stand against SA (No.-2). Another fact is that in last 2 years Aus is bowled out atleast 5 times under 200 in tests. So, please accept the fact that other teams has improved over the period and Aus lost its shine after all the greats taken retirement (I respect all of them as much as Tendulkar but not Ponting). You can not have things forever even mightly WI fallen from the peack.

Posted by sudhanshu0510 on (January 14, 2010, 5:14 GMT)

I think India is almost unbeatable in Test Cricket coz of their batting...but that doesnt mean they win a lot. They draw a lot of matches, their bowling has to improve to be number one. I think India and Australia are presently the best sides in the world and it is difficult to choose one. By the way, England is catching up guys, watch out for another 6 months, may be England gets that status...

Posted by andrew-schulz on (January 14, 2010, 3:49 GMT)

The Guddu, wake up. Australia moved to number 3 at the same point as India claimed their number one position. The rankings are a disgrace anyway. India are there because they have won four series in a row. They have won four series in a row because they have played three at home and one away against the minnows New Zealand. They will never have a good enough away record to be a true number one. Yes I know you say it has improved. But it has improved from totally abysmal to merely disastrous. India has not won more than one Test in their last away series against anybody, not even Bangladesh. The rankings put forward by Wisden in the 90's are a much fairer system. On this system, Australia would be on 26 points, South Africa on 24, and India 22. It is based on actual results, not the foibles of a computer, which will miraculously dump a heap of points from India in April, and make it all close again. Totally inadequate system.

Posted by JackJak on (January 14, 2010, 3:23 GMT)

Chappell has hit the nail on the head. India the number one cricket team in the world is a joke:) We certainly dont have one single bowler who can be termed good. The biggest joke is bringing back rejects like Ashish Nehra who looks like he belongs somewhere else and not on a cricket field. Where are the promising youngsters and claims of Dhoni and his brigade of the idea being to try and test out youngsters and develop a larger pool of players. Not one young indian bowler is being given a fair run at the expense of the so called experienced great Indian bowlers. It can be understood if Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh were considered to be great bowlers like Wasim Akram, Shane Warne or the truly great ones..but they are just ordinary bowlers whom anybody can replace on the Indian domestic circuit instead the Indian board, corporates and the media project this Indian team as a No.1 team..a team which cant field, cant bowl and depends on one or two batsmen to perform.

Posted by colourworld on (January 14, 2010, 1:50 GMT)

I think Ian Chappel under rated our bowlers. India and South Arica are the only teams beat Australia now and then. Why Ian Chappel questionig the talents of our bowlers. Mr Ian Chappel has forgotten that India beat Australia which included the champion players like McRhath, Shane Warne, Gillespie, Waugh brothers, Hayden, Justin Langer, Ponting and Gilchrist in home and away series. In fact with the sustaining performances of our bowlers we have gained the number one ranking. I hope Zaheer, Ishant, Harbajan, Sreesanth and other bowlers will perform continiously well. No need to say about our world class batting line up. Surely India has the talent to remain a long term number one test team.

Posted by sparth on (January 13, 2010, 21:23 GMT)

I love how the majority of the comments that support Ian Chappell have been published. For example, I believe that Chappel has it all wrong. First he compares Sehwag to Bradman, when we all know that Bradman is in a class of his own, next he says that India wont be able to sustain being no.1. They have a very classy batting line up and their bowling is constantly improving, espcially with the likes of Ishant Sharma coming up the ranks, so i think that India have a good chance of still being no.1 at the end of the year.

Posted by Stollie on (January 13, 2010, 17:41 GMT)

To so many people who have responded to the article, go back and read the headline and the content. It's "I don't rate India a long term number 1". Chappell doesn't take away from India's current status as #1, his point is that he doesn't see them holding on to the mantle long term without having 2 spearheads.

Also, why is it that some fans from the subcontinent can't take anyone having an opinion of their team or players that doesn't elevate them to godlike status. On the whole, we don't critise you for thinking your stars walk on water, so don't criticise us for having national pride.

Bunch of babies.

Posted by Robin.Singh00 on (January 13, 2010, 17:36 GMT)

I have to agree with Ian. It is a fair assessment of the current Indian team. Lots of great batsmen, but no champion bowler. I think Harbajan needs to be given a rest, and give Amit Mishra a prolonged run. He has the potential of becoming a fantastic spin bowler for India. It is also a common situation with all the top teams at the moment, except for South Africa who has Dale Steyn and the up and coming Wayne Parnell. England also have some good bowlers in Anderson, Broad and Swan. The cricketing world should keep a close eye on the West Indies as well, for if they can sort out the differences between WICB and WIPA, they can be a force to be reckoned with in a few years. Keep an eye on Taylor, Edwards, Roach and Benn.

Posted by starjay on (January 13, 2010, 17:12 GMT)

I do accept the Indians lack a quality bowling setup. However, to single them out NOW is unfair just cause they took on the no.1 mantle. Where was Ian Chappell when the South Africans were no.1 for a brief period of time ? it was not as if the Proteas were legends in every department. If you ask me they were only a decent side. The same rule applies here to India. Any team needs time to sustain their dominant position. Being an Aussie, I never thought of my team to be invincible during their prime. In fact, I was gutted when we lost the Ashes to England in '05. It made me feel "what was all the fuss about anyway?". However, I also admit we were REALLY GOOD when the chips were down. The guys worked harder to achieve things. That set Australia apart from the rest. I am sure India have the ability to do that. With so much money floating around in India, I am sure they can put the infrastructure to enlist young bowling talent in coming years, prepare good pitches and promote test cricket.

Posted by Campbell on (January 13, 2010, 11:31 GMT)

It's amusing to read all the comments from the one eyed Indian fans who have failed to actually read the article.

What Ian hasn't done is the following.

- Suggested India are not worthy of being the CURRENT number 1 side - Suggested Australia were not challenged whilst they were a great side

What he has done is said the following

- India do not have the bowling attack for a sustained period of dominance such as the Windies of the 80s/90s and the Aussies of the 90's/00's - He would have liked to have seen India ascend to number one whilst Australia were still in their prime.

This does not necessarily mean that India cannot or will not sustain the number 1 rating, but without a bowling attack who can regularly turn it on (as with all sides) I feel that if the batting fails, then India will fail as they do not have a bowling attack who can perform damage limitation like the Windies or Aussies.

Posted by deepgill on (January 13, 2010, 10:11 GMT)

Hi all, Ian chappel is absolutely spot on by saying that India is no long term number 1. They really lack in quality bowling. You can not domintae the world of cricket just by having strong batting line up. No doubt, India has strong batting line up with all the great players. You need to have a great bowling unit, which can take 20 wickets in all conditions to win a test match. If you see Indian bowlers, they are not threatening at all. All the bowlers are medium paced. Ishant started his carrier in style bowling fast to Ricky an co. down under. But now even he is bowling between 130 kmph and 135 kmph. Even in spin department we are not great as well. Harbhajan singh is overly hyped player. He never does good outside India. Even in India his performance in last few years is poor. He never looks threatening. I think ojha and amit mishra are better bowlers than him. So India must need to find out good bowlers and need to be good in fielding to dominate world of cricket. Regards.

Posted by rahulrs on (January 13, 2010, 6:22 GMT)

For any team to dominate the other teams have to be truly lacking in capabilities. The way West Indies have failed to generate a good crop of players after their domination, Australia have failed to do the same after Warne, McGrath etc retirement. At the same time when they were dominating, other teams have failed to produce quality players. By the way, the Australian fall from domination started when all the good players had not yet retired. So the argument that other teams have waited for Australia to fall does not hold water. This just goes to show that Ian is sore about recent Australian fall. About the argument that India does not have quality fast or slow bowlers, this is absolutely true and I believe that India will not be hold onto their title if we dont have better bowlers. Furthermore, if our batsmen have not practised against quality bowlers, our batsmen are also likely to fail on other pitches.

Posted by Stolen1 on (January 13, 2010, 6:15 GMT)

My dear friend and cricket lover, i am from pakistan and fan of indian cricket as well, i always read Mr. Chappel column with great interest and zeal. This time he has just pointed out whether indian will retain ther test supremecy or not. so why the peopler are bothering to discuss about indian team with australia. please understand this article keeping in mind that Mr. Chappell just pointed out the week point of indian bowling and he is rightly said india does not have any champion bowler in their bolwing squad. Friends mathes are wins largely by bowling and name me any indian bowler who can change the complxeion of the match in a fierly sepell of fast bowling and get the match tilted into india's favor. In recent past india failed to contain opposition and most of the cased they lost the match due pathetic bowling performance. At the end i will say Westindies were the real test champion in mid 80's and 90's and then Australia emerged but not menace like w/dies. Good lick for india!!

Posted by THE_GUDDU on (January 13, 2010, 6:02 GMT)

What is Long Term No 1? It is Just No 1 and No 4. How about saying Aussies are long term Number 4? They have been at that position for quite long and they seem to be well settled over there ;) . Yes there may be no strong bowlers like Warne or McGrath, but no team can reach No 1 without bowlers. It's a team sport, and Aussies know it better as no Single Punter can make Aussie No 1 again.

Posted by screamingeagle on (January 13, 2010, 5:43 GMT)

India does not have any bowler who can run through sides, thats what he is talking of. But on the other hand, who does? Steyn maybe. Definitely not Aus, Eng, Pak. Prudent thing would be to wait and watch, I really do not think we will have a clear cut no.1 for a while anyway.

Posted by waspsting on (January 13, 2010, 5:35 GMT)

India are #1 now - and thats a fine achievement. all credit to them for that. what Ian is saying is BLOODY OBVIOUS, though - a point hardly worth making. of course India aren't like the old West Indies or recent Australian sides. Australia would whitewash South Africa in South Africa - is there anybody in their right mind who believes that this India team can do that?? SA, Aus, Eng are all matches for India, especially on their own pitches - in fact, I'd back them to win a home series against India. That wasn't the way it was with WI in 80s or Aus upto a few years ago. Still you can't have an all conquering side at number 1 all the time - so all credit to India. Its better to look at Ian's comments as suggestions on areas on which they need to improve to maintain their present position rather than criticism. Saying your not as good as the 80s West Indies or the 2000s Australia is like saying "ricky ponting isn't as good as Don Bradman" - its NOT CRITICISM at all!!

Posted by starjay on (January 13, 2010, 3:35 GMT)

Mr. Chappell is a blight from the past. He lacked logic on most occasions that I have heard him comment about teams other than Australia. Why even bother comparing the West Indians of the 70s and 80s with India ? it only makes me laugh. The game has changed very much since then and if Chappell is all about making comparisons, then he ought to stick to the other top 3 teams: South Africa, Australia and England. I agree to a certain degree that India lacks a quality all-rounder but at the same time how many teams have a quality all-rounder among their ranks ? none ! The Australians would argue Watson is one but he's simply a batsman who can bowl a bit. The same goes to everyone else. Why single out India ? India has the best batting line up in world cricket and I am sure Chappell would admit that. The bowling is a bit inexperienced and with more test cricket it canl only improve. I see India remaining no.1 for a decent length of time. By the way, I am an Aussie supporter.

Posted by Viewpoint on (January 13, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

I live in Australia and get to hear comments from other experts a la Mr Border, Junior Waugh, etc, on TV about how they too feel India is not fully deserving of the #1 status. Initially it was about how they don't win o/seas, now after having won abroad except SA & Aus (albeit they were mostly the better side last visit down under) it is about how weak the bowling attack is. Yes it is going to be difficult accepting the fact that Australia is no longer numero uno, right now India has earned the status - legit! I agree not by a margin that WI or the last Aus side did for years on end of sheer dominance. On another note, I always maintained that Clive Lloyds side of the 80's would have eaten the McGrath/Warne driven side for breakfast any day!

Posted by bruce124 on (January 13, 2010, 2:23 GMT)

Ian Chapell says that all countries waited for australia to get back from their standards and then only did india catch up..but then why couldnt australia catch up with the great west indians until their legends retired?

Posted by Ravi_Cbe on (January 13, 2010, 1:23 GMT)

Ian don't you have a champion mind to accept the truth that Australia is not No. 1 at present and are not favorites anymore. You still seem to be living in the past thinking about your great batsman and bowlers during that time. Its childish to say that all otherteams are just waiting for them to fall back and then trying to catch them."Aussies were dominating only because there were no quality players in other teams before, absence of review systems to challenge your bowlers and the umpires (remember the sydney test). Did your team beat WI regularly when WI were at their best with Richards, Holding, Greenidge, Haynes, Marshall, Roberts...

Posted by borninthetimeofSRT on (January 13, 2010, 0:51 GMT)

You can't blame Ian for a lot of reasons. First, he is a true Aussie, secondly, Aussies believe it is their birth right to come out with prophecies about any other team, coz baggy green is the supreme - like some Greek god. Thirdly, it is easy to talk about two world class bowlers as they already have had that once - which by the way was their shear luck and a matter of coincidence. CA never planned to have two world class bowlers to be the No.1 team either. And no matter, how much one can deny, India were the only team to fight Aussies during Aussies' prime and to twice stop their stretch of 16 test wins and drawing a series during Waugh's era. India cud have won the series in Australia sans Sydney fiasco. Ian, your dear bro came and undid a lot of Ganguly's and Wright's work, and now you know why Aussies can't coach in India. Buchanan and Greg have provided enough reason to doubt the old school of thought nurtured by CA. Players don't debut after aging 30 in India. We get them young.

Posted by BigDataIsAHoax on (January 12, 2010, 23:22 GMT)

Well, nothing can be predicted when it comes to cricket. Based on the performance of last 2 years, India, definitely, is the #1 test team. No two ways about it. They won overseas. Almost nailed australia in australia had the sydney test-match produced 50% correct umpiring decisions. But, I understand what Ian is trying to say. He is my favourite commentator by distance and the only impartial commentator from australia . Probably what he is trying to say is to give yourself a bigger chance of being the #1 team, you need to have a potent bowling attack which can take 20 wickets on any surface. Atm, the indian attack doesn't look hostile at all. But imagine, if ishant were to get back his venom (which paralysed ricky ponting time and again) and zaheer were to regain back complete fitness we have a deadly new ball attack. For that to happen, these guys should not participate in IPL and random odi's (like the one going on in dhaka! lol!)!! And of course practise, practise and practise!

Posted by AvidCricFan on (January 12, 2010, 22:44 GMT)

Ian Chappell has a valid point. Just one series away in Australia, SA or England cause India to loose number one status. India also has poor records in big tournaments like Champions trophy and world cup. Our bowling looks very ordinary. Our batting will still be suspect in seam friendly countries, specially when the old players retire. The new generation batsmen have not been vetted on bouncy wickets. I see India coming down from number 1 in less than a year.

Posted by k7shah on (January 12, 2010, 22:34 GMT)

I somewhat agree with Ian. But Many people posted comments like Indian fans are not thinking rationally. They certainly are. yes we believe cricket is a religion. But we are rational as well. coming back to the comments of Patriotic Ian, please Ian stop comparing today's team India with the 80's team of WI or 90-2000 team of Aus. I agree that team India lack two genuine bowlers but so is the every cricket team at the moment. If Ian thinks that Bolinger is a gr8 bowler based on his five-fer against WI on a bowling friendly conditions than his words arent the words of a comments's words. Team India has every potential to stay on top if Bhajji finds his form. Zaheer is a good bowler too. Dont forget Ian Subcontinent pitches are graveyards for bowlers. So u certainly cant say that India doesnt hv a good bowler.

Posted by laxmans_resilience on (January 12, 2010, 22:27 GMT)

Dear Ian, did you ever feel or predict in the past that India is going to be numero uno ? No. The most, you've said is India can really compete with australia in australia. Then why should we agree when you say that India is not going to be there for long time. As a keen follower of Indian test cricket, India's ascent has been because of two things in the following order. 1) India has the strongest Test batting lineup with an ideal combination of best attackers and defensive batsmen in the current cricket. 2) In the last few years India's bowling attack consistently proved to be more effective than the opposition's, whenever they were provided with bowler friendly conditions. They might not have standout bowlers in the world, but zak, kumble, harbhajan, pathan, sreesanth, agarkar etc are/were capable of winning matches on their own on their days. In short, I want to say "India did not become number 1 in accordance with your "formula" and hopefully will stay there for some more time

Posted by -c.r-i.c-i.n-f.o- on (January 12, 2010, 22:14 GMT)

Moreover, is so illogical comparing cricket played by different teams of different eras.If people still want to, I personally believe the current Indian side would have toppled the Aussies even in the early 2000s....disagree? Were there any real good test sides to challenge the aussies that time? No. The word great make sense only when there is competition, like there is right now. Aus have produced good cricketers and even the best of them, not proven a great team though stats speak otherwise. Who cares about stats when India has the likes of SRT and RD.

Posted by vas006 on (January 12, 2010, 22:12 GMT)


With exception to the 2001 Indian tour, India never beat Australia at full strength. The 2003/04 series was notable for the absence of Warne and McGrath, and also the partial absences of Brett Lee and Jason Gillespie. So, Chappelli's assertion India waited out Australia has some truth. It hurts, I know.

Now, I'm not arguing the merits of India becoming a world champion side. But the way some fans are carrying on, you would think India has become an equal to the great Windies or Aussie sides. They're not even close yet. The great Windies and Aussie sides would ruthlessly demolish their opponents. Indeed, Australia whitewashed every Test opponent at least once in the last decade (including India in 1999/2000).

Here's a little stat for you. In January 2007, Australia had 134 points in the rankings, while India had 107. Now, India has 124 and Australia 116. This is despite Australia winning 15 out of 30 tests they played, while India 13 out of 30. How does that work?

Posted by prashk on (January 12, 2010, 20:40 GMT)

Virat Kohli - A Jordanesque Psyche?

There are talented players and then there are players who win with commitment and will. Not that players can make it to the highest echelons of the game with out an abundant mix of both.

If talent alone translated into cricketing results….

India would have had Vinod Kambli still playing for them matching Sachin's record for record

Mark Waugh would have been one of the best players to have ever played for Australia and his brother Steve would have been just an anecdote on his resume.

David Gower would have been more celebrated than Graham Gooch and Geoff Boycott.


But then it hardly turns that way. We have players making a mark on their team and even becoming their best players just by maximizing their potential by sheer hard work and will.

And then there are just winners. Who do not fear to stare a challenge right in the face, with ice in their veins and be able to make that winning shot.

Posted by nirjhor_bd on (January 12, 2010, 20:03 GMT)

I think what some of us failed to concur here is the fact that the teams which reigned as No.1 in 80's,90's and 2000 were more balanced in their batting and bowling lineups. India has the best batting lineup in the game but missing two or three top class bowlers who can win any game on a alien pitch, outside India. From my point of view, I believe India has better chances of capturing and withholding the ODI top spot eventhough there are recent setbacks against australia and sri lanka cause the batting lineup is pretty much the same, if not better (dhoni/yuvraj is a better odi batsman than test) and bowlers...lets not talk about the role bowlers play in ODI/T20 anymore...we have given them up for the sake of entertainment...

Posted by begamir on (January 12, 2010, 18:00 GMT)

Ian Chappel is a big name in cricket as an expert but I dont agree with him. First thing it doesn't matter how long India can retain its no. 1 position, they are no. 1 now with their performances. Second you can't say that bowling will retain them at no. 1 position. e.g. Pakistan is a better bowling side then Australia and India. But they are not winning.

Yes, I agreed with Ian Chappel that India must need some champion bowlers. But doesn't he consider Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan as a champion bowler [see records]. What I think India need more bowlers to give them [Harbhajan and Zaheer Khan] hands to strengthen their bowling, so that they can be a strong bowling side as well as batting.

Posted by ChinmayD on (January 12, 2010, 16:41 GMT)

Our bowling attack looks worse on paper than it actually is due to the batting surfaces they have to bowl in. They have consistently out performed bowling attack of every visiting team since we defeated Australia in 2008 (Ishant Sharma man of the series and all that). The only problem has been Harbhajan Singh's inconsistency.

Outside the subcontinent and in seam friendly conditions of SA, England and Australia, our bowling attack is very potent.

Posted by xonoxiler on (January 12, 2010, 16:20 GMT)

india no doubt has the most capable batting line up in the world..but their bowlings sucks to core,.... one shouldn say that we hav champion bowlers.,we just hav decent bowlers who can bowl well at times...to match this fact,name me one player in indian team who has strike rate of 25 or average of 25?? we need some one like steyn or lee...spinners hav been india's strength from its begining...but nw its tyme for a champion fast bowler and a high class all rounder like kallis to emerge...its high tyme nw..

Posted by henchart on (January 12, 2010, 15:58 GMT)

Ian Chappell is right about Indians lacking champion bowlers at present to sustain their new found World No. 1 Test ranking.SA is struggling to take 20 wkts against England and Aus have beaten lowly ranked WI and ever unpredictable Pakistan.Considering all these ,Indians are the best at present.Sehwag,Gambhir,Tendlya,Dravid and Dhoni along with Laxman and Yuvi make a formidable and the best batting unit in the world.The same though cannot be said for Harbhajan,Ishant,Zaheer ,Nehra,Sreesanth and Praveen kumar.

Posted by jivaji on (January 12, 2010, 15:55 GMT)

No doubt india is lacking in bowling depth but India is no.1 team in world. I will like to remind Mr. Chappell that India was only team who threatened Aussie No. 1 position in past. India defeated star packed Aussie team in 2001 & later last two tours to australia were best by any visiting team as far as visiters were concerned. Before South Africa had shaken Aussie position last time around when they toured Australia. But Mr. chappell it is wrong to say that teams had given up when Aussie were on their prime & i dont aggree with it. Mr. Chappell please go through old footages when Laxman & Dravid flayed Aussie bowling & when Ricky Ponting danced to Bhajjis spin even to score a one. Pontings average at that tour was even making Pidge proud.

Posted by IPL_is_Joke on (January 12, 2010, 15:36 GMT)

Who is this Ian Chappell to rate Team India ? There is ICC and other ranking systems to take care of that.

By the way if ranking system says a Team is No. 1, does that mean that team will never lose to anybody else ? or does it mean No. 1 team can beat any other team ?

Posted by Vkarthik on (January 12, 2010, 15:16 GMT)

What Ian chappell says is a very very obvious thing. Even an amature cricket fan could figure out himself. But Ian chappell has to realize same can be extended to other teams also. Each team currently have some weakness or the other. By virtue of that India can definitely stay at no.1 longer than Chappell thinks. You should not compare India to West Indies of 80s, Australia of 2000s. Compare this team to other teams. Top 4 are more or less equal.

Posted by dasarathan on (January 12, 2010, 14:54 GMT)

India being strong in batting they are none the less bowling we have already harbhajan and zaheer khan enven there are emerging players like ishant sharma so no problem for India's spot except SA influence

Posted by mourya18 on (January 12, 2010, 14:32 GMT)

How can Ian say that India is not suitable for No1 title on the long run?? Is there any rule like the champions must posess atleast two champion bowlers? It doesn't come into act literally when you are consistently winning the games. The logic is simple, if you have a gr8 captain you'll obviuosly get good results. This is one of a point where captain comes under act in test matches.Doesn't matter wht your bowlers are, if d batsmen post good targets that's enough for a good captain to restrict the opposition. All the bowlers have to do is bowl in the areas where his captain asked to. How can he say that " If India could have beaten Australia when there are big players, it would be certainly no1". While i'll say that there's no Gambhir, yuvraj, sreesanth and dhoni playing when the australians have big guns. Teams keep on changing, players n captain have to manage according to the situation, tht's wht cricket is. Finally onething, a win is a win however you got it n how margin it is.

Posted by mav58 on (January 12, 2010, 14:28 GMT)

Truth hurts desn't it!! Regardless of India's current overrated Test ranking, Ian is absolutely right. We currently have a very poor bowling attack and an even poorer fielding team just at the moment when we have a very strong opening pair and a powerful batting line-up overall. Even Dhoni has said the same thing - remember last week's comments from Dhoni. He knows that if we don't get good bowlers soon and don't improve our fielding massively we will be down to 3 or 4 in the rankings come Jan 2011. Just think, if we had bowlers like Asif, Umar Gul and Anderson and a team which could field like SA then we would really be no. 1 and also have the capacity to stay there for some time.

Posted by TwitterJitter on (January 12, 2010, 14:17 GMT)

Ian is right in that if India needs to be a dominating team (thats what Ian means when he says true #1) then bowling attack needs to improve by leaps and bounds along with fielding. Of late, they have become overly dependent on batting to bail them out of tough situations imposed by poor bowling and fielding. Playing domestic games on a true pace wicket or a spinning track will encourage more players to take up bowling seriously. He is also right that it is sad that a couple of teams are in tight race for #1 because of drop in quality of Australia (and previously WI in early 90s) rather than some other team improving in quantum and overtaking them in quality of cricket. People should stop assigning personal motives to Ian. He is one analyst who deserves it least. He tells it as he sees it. He likes aggressive players like Sehwag in cricket and dislikes selfish batsmen who play for records. His prior stances are there for everyone to see.

Posted by BarodaExpress on (January 12, 2010, 14:17 GMT)

That's true Mr. Chappel that india did not have any outstandiang bowler, some what Bhajji is there, but if you see india's last 2 year test win's bowler contribution then you can notice that each time some bowler bowled one great spell to destroy opposition batting e.g. Zahir's spell at Braborn against Srilanka and against Australia at Mohali ( reverse swing ),Irfan and RP singh at Perth ( ausi lost at fastest pitch in world ) Miishra's speel against australia, Srisanth spell against Srilanka etc and that's enough for win. On ohter side india has strongest batting line up upt to No 7 ( Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Sachin, Laxman, Yvi and Dhoni ) compare to other teams. and they played at 4 runs per over which put opposition under pressure. Mr. Chappel you told that Australia is strong than india, but australia wins against WI very narrowley and almost lost against Pakistan but thanks to Mr. Akmal thgat aus. win No teams having destroyer bowler recently

Posted by coldhardfacts on (January 12, 2010, 14:02 GMT)

Typical Chappell... No surprises. I guess no one cares how long India will stay on top. I guess some cannot stomach the fact that Australia is not No.1 Forget the issue of how long India will be at No.1, rather I guess we need to see whether Aussies can even reach No.1 again.

Posted by THEGOYLE on (January 12, 2010, 13:51 GMT)

For a team with no champion bowlers, India have been able to beat the Aussies on their home patch without much trouble recently. Perhaps the rose tinted specs should come off, and Mr Chappell should look more closely at the deficiencies of the Australian attack. Not to mention the brittle middle order and a keeper who doesn't score consisent or crucial runs.

Face it the aura has gone the team is beatable and I for one am pleased that the rest of us have a chance.

India enjoy your moment, England will shortly replace you!!!!!!!!!

Posted by fairness on (January 12, 2010, 13:43 GMT)

Having champion bowlers in the make up is a old strategy! The new strategy is to have new bowlers in the mix often so that the oppositions can't make "plans" using network supplied footage & video analysis. India got the better off Australia in the last series because they had new bowlers that Australia knew little of. The criticism is a delibrate attempt to misguide the think tank to stick with a stable line up that can be predicted! India must develop bench strength, change the composition of the team as many times as possible (rotate players), have controls over video footage, have trainers give new strategies to players so that they become less predictable and maintain an element of surprise every time they field a team. Be wary of people like Ian who put their nationalistic interests above a sport! India has the population, now the money and infrastructure to lead the game into future and remain on top without engaging in mind games and network footage!!

Posted by Vkarthik on (January 12, 2010, 13:38 GMT)

I have reading all the cricket news sources in recent times. India being no.1 in world ranking is being unnecessarily over-analyzed by all sundries. They constantly over-analyze why India should or shouldn't be no.1. ICC rankings indicate current form of a team. India is certainly the most inform team. If they go out of form they will lose rankings. Why there is so much fuss about this. Too many unnecessary comparisons. Even veteran cricket experts fail to comprehend the purpose of ICC ranking probably blinded by patriotism.

Posted by Shrescs on (January 12, 2010, 13:37 GMT)

Does Australia/SA, who are in 2nd/3rd positions, have 'Champion' bowlers? Since they do not have any either, India has a bright chances to be a long term No. 1 side. :)

Posted by pragmatist on (January 12, 2010, 13:32 GMT)

Well said Ian - in fact you can share your comment for all the Test teams at the moment. There is a distinct lack of quality bowlers around, and no one side has the sort of edge that Marshall or Warne would bring to a side. That's what makes it such an interesting and fluid period at the moment.

Posted by cricinfoforakshay on (January 12, 2010, 13:31 GMT)

India has come together as a team. While Ian maybe right we do not have one champion bowler, but we do have some good candidates. Hopefully, the selectors and training staff nurture a couple of fast bowlers and let Harbhajan Singh nurture a couple of spinners with a killer instinct.

Posted by Balaji_Vish on (January 12, 2010, 13:31 GMT)

One thing that is not said about the domination of WI and Aus is the state of the other teams in the fray. When WI were leading in 1970s, India, NZ & Pakistan were still startup cricketing nations and SL & SA didn't come into the stage. England were never world champions in Cricket. That just left Aussies for the WI team to win over. At the end of last century when Aussies took reins, England were absolutely horrible, Pakistan terribly inconsistent, SL were still adapting to Test cricket, Windies started their collapse. India and SA were the only ones with power to challenge the Aussies. SA could not win over Aus in mind games, and India were a confused lot.

However, now almost all top teams are strong. England, India, SA & Sri Lanka arguably at their best form in history & even the relative underdogs Pakistan, NZ & Windies could still challenge top teams. This is probably the first time the rankings matters.

Posted by Bairad on (January 12, 2010, 13:29 GMT)

Good report by Ian Chappel. India dont have good bowlers. But some people are not able to digest the thing that India is No. 1. India will find class bowlers (some missing components of "Kayam Churna") soon...and only then world will realise this very soon....overnight specially Australia and England.

Posted by AroonNL on (January 12, 2010, 13:27 GMT)

Following up, I liked Rambo2111 follow up comment. Lets take the positives and make our team great. The other comments on nurturing and converting our good fast bowlers into great ones is also true. We must not make workhorses or destroy them with over expectation and over stress. Our country has great potential and hard working talent. let us use it properly. Forget the irritation caused by the parasites and mosquitos who whine away.

Posted by Venki-Shruti on (January 12, 2010, 13:27 GMT)

I think that Mr Chappel is wrong because India has achieved No 1 because of the team effort and not because of a particular individual. Zaheer, Ishant & Harbhajan has done well for us without their contribution we can't achieve the No 1 Spot. We have three great bowlers may be they not champions but they contribute to the wins. We also have sreesanth, munaf patel,amit mishra who can perform in patches. So Mr. Chappel is absolutely wrong in his assessment.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (January 12, 2010, 13:26 GMT)

Is there any side at the moment with two outstanding bowlers? I don't think that there is. That's why England can win in South Africa and South Africa can win in Australia and Australia in South Africa. Who knows what will happen when India and South Africa meet? Right now the gap between the top five sides is very small and any one of them could take top ranking in the next 2 years. The fact that Australia could drop from 1st to 4th after just one series defeat and INdia could climb from 3rd to 1st after a win shows how unstable the rankings are right now. It could make for some very exciting Test cricket. And if England do wrap up a series win next week, it will stir up the rankings even further.

Posted by AroonNL on (January 12, 2010, 13:17 GMT)

Let us pause a moment and take a breath. If we take umrage at what people say we can never learn. There is a lot of good we can extract from this. Lets start getting our team 'INDIA' to remain No 1 and get to No 1 in all forms of the sport. That means we start developing in all sections Batting, Bowling and Fielding. Take Batting: Here we do have a good bench strength for both ODI and Test. What about T20?? Bowling:Our so called weakest link. What should we do about it??? Fielding: Catches win matches!!! When we have fielded well we have improved our winning chances otherwise we have thrown away our possibility to win, so we improve here too. Let's support our team by construction not defensive anger or criticism...

Posted by kreeketer on (January 12, 2010, 13:16 GMT)

I totally agree with Ian about India lacking the champion bowlers. Given the fact that australia has dominated Test cricket for a longtime with the services of greats Warne and Mcgrath, current scenario tells otherwise. After the recently concluded test match at SCG, even the current australia line-up lacks quality bowlers. As a matter of fact Pakistan's Mohammed Asif had bowled absolutely superbly on day 1, aussie bowlers could not use the conditions at all. As the current status of comparison made by Ian, India lacks champion bowlers; but australia dont have those bowlers as well. So, the current situation is different in Test Cricket at the World stage !!! I think the way of analysis should be revisited to incorporate so many recent factors like nations playing more T20 and ODIs than test matches....I will not be surprised to see india clinging on to this position for longer time, if australia is currently playing some other countries like India or Southafrica rather than Pakistan.

Posted by Vinit_Sharma_Singh on (January 12, 2010, 13:14 GMT)

Ian Chappell must just laugh and shake his head at the way his comments are reacted to so defensively, and how so many cricinfo readers completely miss the point of what he is saying! I actually listened to the whole show with Ian, Sanjay Manjrekar, and Harsha Bhogle, and what was said is spot on- to be a long term #1 you need 2 champion bowlers. Yes it's true that no other team in the world has that at the moment either, but what that means is that no team is going to be able to sustain a position at the top because there's about 5 teams who will be able to beat each other. And to all the deluded Indians talking about how much India has "thrashed" Australia during Australia's era of dominance, as far as I can recall India has NEVER won a series in Australia, in 2001 it took the greatest performance in history (Laxman) to avoid a comprehensive home defeat, and in 2003/2004 Australia absolutely smashed India in India with their best batsman (Ponting) out injured. Time to get real.

Posted by _Dev on (January 12, 2010, 13:11 GMT)

Hi Ian Chappell

Good to know ur thoughts, but those are baseless, as always. Though India champion bowlers, they are still no. 1 ahead of ur Aussies. BTW who is the champion bowler in Aus team? Better you first find that out. And I just find it very funny to to read Chappell's opinions. I remember, when Mr Chappell criticised Shane Watson, and praised James hopes ahead of shane. Chappell had said that Watson just has pace but hopes much better cricketer. Now tell something about your opinion Mr. chappell, before making any new anaysis. Any reader remember this?

Thanku mr chappell for your opinions which make me laugh after hectic day in office.

Posted by auggie on (January 12, 2010, 13:07 GMT)

Last time he made a major comment on Indian cricket he said that the fabulous Tendulkar should retire. Tendulkars subsequent batting made him EAT his words. Now he is saying that India wont sustain their number 1 position. Get ready for another big meal Ian!

Posted by Sgt.Ops on (January 12, 2010, 13:04 GMT)

Mr.Chappell i agree that we dont have champion bowlers in our side, all our bowlers Irfan pathan, Munaf patel and sreesanth who were devastating in certain tests were made to look puny in majority of the tests that preceded their best. I blame the IPL and the BCCI to play a major part of their downfall. When rahul dravid, sourav ganguly and virender sehwag had a horrible run they were dropped and returned with a bang. That shows the true spirit, commitment to the game and not to the stardom that comes wit cricket. BCCI should do something to avoid losing good talent like Irfan. coming back to the aussies dominance i really believe that we dont have a champion umpire like australia had the champion BUCKNOR... have u forgotten the steve waugh's last series at home. we deserved to win the last test but were denied victory coz Bucknor felt otherwise. so plzz dont tell us that we didnt beat the best australian side. neither did australia become number 1 when west indies were at their prime.

Posted by Trapper439 on (January 12, 2010, 12:59 GMT)

As per usual the Indian fans are missing the point. As per usual they're being overly defensive. Chappell is merely saying that India don't have two great bowlers of the likes of Warne/McGrath, Marshall/Ambrose (Holding/Garner, etc). That's all he's saying. If you disagree with him then state which Indian bowlers you think are that good. Kumble was a great, but he's retired now. Zaheer has had a good latter part of his career, but he's nearing retirement and still has an overall Test average of over 30 if I'm not mistaken. Ishant is a good young bowler, but he still needs to prove himself worthy of comparison to the previous greats from WI and Aus for Chappell not to be correct in his appraisal. It's not rocket-science, people. Actions speak louder than words.

Posted by atulcricket on (January 12, 2010, 12:54 GMT)

whatever it is India is no 1 for the moment. I agree to the fact that india don't have champion bowlers at the moment but being no. 1 is important and great whenever it is. One day warne and Mcgrath had to retire you can't keep on playing for whole life. If west indies champion team had not retired then Aus would never have become great. India would have won the series last time in Aus but world knows how Aus won. India defeated them in 2001, drew the series in Aus 2003, defeated them again. Aus have won only one series in India that also by luck when sachin was not there for two matches and whole indian team was out of form. so see if you have to give reasons and arguments then it is easy to find hundreds of them. If India had McGrath and warne then India would have dominated the world cricket.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (January 12, 2010, 12:52 GMT)

Indian bowling does look pedestrian in sub continent conditions and I am inclined to agree with the assessment on the basis of the abilityies of the current crop of bowlers They look different when they play outside the country though. Then again the under 19 crop of players from India promise a great deal and from what we saw at the last world cup which they won rather easily they seemed far better and more motivated than the rest. It is quite possible that money and cricket being a decent career in India could be the reason for this. In fact the same trend is seen even in the current crop of u 19 players and I will not be surprised if India wins he latest world cup as well.Perhaps, a look at the performance of teams in the Emerging players tournament in Australia sometime back will throw some light onto this subject as well. India played very well and won, almost humbling Australia and South Africa. I feel India can carry on for 2 years at least as the South African series will show.

Posted by GoCho on (January 12, 2010, 12:50 GMT)

I cant believe we have so many fellow Indians voicing their opinions withe their hearts rather than their heads. 2 points which passionate Indian fans seem to miss - India did play a couple of well fought series in Aus this decade but nowehere were we even close to upsetting Aus's no1 position. We have constantly improved but still do not have a test series win in SA/Aus. Infact we have lost all but one series we have played in these 2 countries atleast since I was born. Two - the argument that Aus or other teams do not have champion bowlers etc is moot because Chappel does not claim Aus/other teams are long term no1 teams. All he says is that its not possible to be a long term no1 without champion bowlers. Till any team has those, no team can hold on to the no1 posn for long

Posted by rappedonthepads on (January 12, 2010, 12:48 GMT)

Can't agree more with dionysus.hawksby. All I see here are Indian fans violently defending anything said(often construed negative) about the Indian team or their players. I've read the article and don't see anything wrong, we simply don't have the champion bowler anymore.

I remember, these very fans on cricinfo had torn apart an article from Ian Chappel before the last tour of India to Australia. What was the ruckus about then? Ian Chappel had suggested in his column that India should open with Sehwag in the 1st Test to induce the fear factor within the Aussies. Obviously, this got seen as a ploy on the part of Chappel to influence India into playing an out of form Sehwag by the sensitive Indian fans and the piece was torn to shreds. He played in the 3rd test when the scoreline read 2-0 and we wont the Perth test. WHat happened after that is history.

Chappel's word is not the gospel, but he's surely not the worst.

Posted by Bytheway on (January 12, 2010, 12:47 GMT)

By the same token, Waugh and co had to wait for Lloyd and co to retire before they could lay claim to greatness. Time waits for no man. The only time that matters is NOW.

Posted by ummy on (January 12, 2010, 12:42 GMT)

We will have to wait a while to see the merits of Ian Chappels comments. I also don't think India are going to stay number 1 for longer than 6 months either but I could be wrong. I wonder how long Laxman, Dravid and Tendulkar are going to play on for since they are getting a bit old now and surely they must retire soon. Once these guys have gone, India's batting doesn't look as strong in Test matches.

Posted by Hemant532 on (January 12, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

HEMANT I m completely disagree wid mr. Chappell the bowling attack is sufficient stronger with bhaj n zaheer which cn destroy ausies n africans easily n we r having batsmans like Viru, Gauti, yuvi n Mahi n i dnt think dat they wl gv any chance to opponents to pull dwn india.

Posted by Nrao786 on (January 12, 2010, 12:41 GMT)

I dont think Indian fans need to get too defensive about Chappell's comments. India have much to be happy about with their current team, but to be truly consistent they need their current bowlers or future ones to be match winners. Then with the current batting line-up, they would be a really strong team.

Having said that, watching the recent Series' going on....talent and consistencies amongst the top four seems pretty equal, which makes things a lot more exciting. Their weaknesses in certain areas or times make each series more interesting to watch than the one sided affairs with the Windies (80s) and Aust (2000s).

The problem for India, like in Eng when discussing the national football team - too many eyes are blinkered when assessing the weaknesses of the team...the reality hat is put in the draw! The opening is good, but are the youngsters waiting to replace the old guard able to play the short ball.....i dont think so!

So constructive criticism is good...

Posted by Idol on (January 12, 2010, 12:40 GMT)

Ian Chappell has a point in saying that the Indian team in its current form is not a complete one.But when it comes to the broader meaning of his statement about Indian not being a long term No.1,he also needs to weigh the fact that being No.1 in terms of the ranking system is all about winning matches.So, if India continues to win matches at a rate higher than the rest ( and of course, play enough matches in the first place), then they will still be No.1.Also, while mentioning bowlers, he needs to remember that the pitches across the world are more or less uniform now in terms of what they offer ( or not) to the bowlers. So at the current rate, the performance of Indian bowlers - especially Zaheer and Harbhajan is as good as anybody's. We really cant think of any other team which has a more experienced pair of pace-spin.The worry for India, in fact is in its middle order - where nobody has really broken through. There may be tremendous pressure on the openers once the trio retires

Posted by epochery on (January 12, 2010, 12:37 GMT)

I an Chappell is right, while batsmen can make sure you dont lose a test they cant win you one, it is bowlers capable of taking 20 wickets. World test cricket is ina state of transistion where no one country is dominating. South Africa is closest to this but they lack a quality spinner. England is probably a batsman and a quality quick bowler short, Australia is short in its bowling line up with only mitchell johnson being anywhere near the quality needed to win aganist strong opponents.

Posted by Vansan on (January 12, 2010, 12:35 GMT)


INDIA - SEHWAG in test = INDIA's TOTAL - 200, SEHWAG is crucial in most of recent indian successes. SADLY, INDIA dont have any champion bowlers, KHAN is acceptable, HARBHAJAN??? He is tiger at home, kitten away....

AUSTRALIA is going through a patchy phase, SA seems consistantly inconsistant, SO INDIA took SPOT 1. its not about taking 1st SPOT, its about maintaining for a lengthy time upto some 3years...

BEWARE GUYS, How ENGLAND spoiled SA and AUSSIE, they can easily spoil indian celebrations too.. Then those who all worship here as gods, will come with new ideas criticizing one another... replace harbhajan, dhoni and so on.

DONT FORGET GUYS, WI didnt become champion team as soon as they won WC1975, they became undisputed champions in 1981, I think this is what IAN means...

Posted by Adityamainkar on (January 12, 2010, 12:33 GMT)

Yes absolutely agree. The problem of Indian fast bowling is not magnified as it is because of exceptional batting lineup for India. Score of 400 is not enough for Indian bowlers in ODI and 225 in T20 proves the point. Short and wide when begin,On pads when fineleg inside circle,No yorkers or slow balls at death are typical characteristics of Indian bowling. Spinners dont flight ball.And like whiner they always blame on flat wickets. But when Australia toured India in October their fast bowlers proved they are much better. India have become No1 I think due to outstanding batting and some poor form of other teams like Eng,Aus and SA.

Posted by shivam2979 on (January 12, 2010, 12:32 GMT)

so , this has proved that ian still is in his past memories and thinks australia as the best. but its for him to realise that it is not true. aus's no. 3 spot is being digested to any australian. ian is an example. where were australia's world class bowlers when they were defeated 2-0 by india and they were'nt able to take india's 20 wickets. is this world class bowling who could not dismiss harbhajan and zaheer having dismissed the top order. where was brett lee and co. when sachin scored 2 100s in australia in 2007/08. they might have won the series with the help of buckner and benson but they could really not prove themselves as no. 1 team at that time. so who is better-australia or India?????????????

Posted by IssacJ on (January 12, 2010, 12:23 GMT)

I think Ian forgot to say that "Which side he will likely to rate as No.1 in Test?".

Posted by Bone101 on (January 12, 2010, 12:21 GMT)

Ian's comments are on the mark. Wickets win matches, and only world class bowlers reliably take wickets in all circumstances which any team needs at the top. Look at SA even recently, as soon as the bowlers lost form they dropped from being top dog.

Although, the comment is valid that theres not much else floating around out there in terms of an intimmidating attack from any nation.

As a side, it's good from a cricket tragics view point to see India climb the summit to world No.1. Well done to the Indian team. And wow, what an awesome batting line up it is with Dhoni as the cherry on top.

I hope every Indian cricket lover gets right behind Test Match cricket now, and long live the best format of the game!

Posted by harikeshan on (January 12, 2010, 12:10 GMT)

India has a knack of quality fast bowlers but what seems to be the common problem is that a few good opening matches and if the bowler does well they are praised no end. However, lets look at the recent past what's happened to guys like Ishant Sharma- boy wonder who made Ponting his Bunny, today can't seem to figure out the On/Off sides of Batsmen, Irfan Pathan, Amit Misra sort of In and Out, Ajit Agakar, Ramesh Powar. Apart from Anil Kumble and Bhaji in the Recent Past none have really had longevity to be recognized and feared. Same applies to most asian countries. Spinner's if they do make their mark tend to have long careers whereas fast bowlers tend to suffer. Apart from bowling its also a fact that India should be beating teams comprehensively away. It no use going a drawing a series or two. For bowlers to take wickets they also need fielding that can back it up.

Posted by dionysus.hawksby on (January 12, 2010, 12:07 GMT)

India may not have a champion bowling attack, but then which nation has a complete team? 1. India - no champion bowlers 2. Saffers - Batting attack prone to collapses 3. Australia - no champion bowlers or batsmen 4. England - Relies on other team losing their way collapsing in a heap. Seems to enjoy nail biting draws more than winning 5. Sri Lanka - terrible bowling attack, decent batting on flat pitches. Yet to win a test in India 6. Pakistan - excellent bolwing, terrible wicket keeping and batting 7. Windies/ New Zealand - Can they seriously challenge any of the top 4? (Except perhaps Australia, SA and England) 8. Bangladesh- They are like the Indian team of 1950s. Give them another 50 to 60 years and they will be world champions.

Posted by fanofteamindia on (January 12, 2010, 12:01 GMT)

So Ian has proved he is a true AUSTRALIAN!!!Yes i do agree,India don't have a champion bowler to take wickets on a flat track but please tell me which other team in the world has???India have Harbhajan and Zaheer who can destroy any batting line-up when they have favourable pitch conditions.As to India not being able to beat Australia in Australia,Australia managed to beat India in India only once and that too the second test being abandoned with India needing just 200 odd runs in one full day with all the wickets in hand.So shall we say Australia weren't a good team in the late 90s and early 2000s???Long term or not,India is currently the world no1 and Australia are the world no.3,this is the reality.

Posted by blackerthanyourhate on (January 12, 2010, 11:59 GMT)

A few years ago when Indian team was doing well as an ODI side, shane warne commented that in this australia-india rivaly Australia will ace india in the longer version of the game,but now when india has broken that barrier and become the no.1 team another australian expert comes a gives a piece of his brethe..While indian bowling may not have been as good in ODIs's but their performance on test cricket hasnt been that poor...Indian present standard of bowling is only our present weakness and our team will overcome it...By the way dont forget we have outplayed australia in 2008 at home, and we will do it again and again as long as we want to do it..

Posted by dionysus.hawksby on (January 12, 2010, 11:58 GMT)

Oh please.. Cricinfo and Ian Chappel both are just trolling for comments here. This is a very obvious MO, Cricinfo! 1. Make a somewhat controversial statement regarding Indian cricket team or cricket player 2. Get Indian cricket fans in a tizzy. 3. Watch the hit counter go up 4. ??? 5. Profit!

Posted by kalikesam on (January 12, 2010, 11:54 GMT)

the simple fact is that india woldn't have won 80% of the matches that they have won in the last 2 years without the efforts of sehwag. so i don' t agree with the old theory that bowlers win matches. sehwag has proved that by scoring at a faster rate he can single handedly win matches for india.

Posted by Shrini on (January 12, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

What Ian Chapell says seems to be true at the outset. However, India more than make up for the same with their outstanding batting and above all, MSD's astute leadership. Having said that, India need to find or develop champion bowlers, before the law of averages catches up with the batting.

Posted by rambo2111 on (January 12, 2010, 11:40 GMT)

Following up on my earlier posting, the fact that other teams also do not have champion bowlers currently may allow India to be No. 1 currently but is not sufficient for them to retain the top spot since it is a matter of time before they do produce champion bowlers (as Aus did in the mid 90s when McGrath and Warne came up). India does seem to have fundamental weakness in its coaching system that results in good new bowlers not going on to become great (Zaheer's and Irfan's form went down after 2002-03 although Zaheer has thankfully regained his form, Ishant's form has gone down since 2007-08) - this needs to be rectified. In other teams, good bowlers such as McGrath and Pollock have gone on to become great - Steyn is heading the same way. India needs to focus on this, especially since our current test middle order batsmen will be retiring in a few years. Great and not just good bowling is needed if India is to beat Aus in Aus and SA in SA, which they haven't done yet.

Posted by Psyc_s on (January 12, 2010, 11:37 GMT)

No surprise in this article, but he is rite in saying India needs a genuine match winning bowler. Mr.Ian would make a sincere journalist who was taught to haunt celebrities. He always had friction with the people who do better or in other words on top the world. I read somewhere during his days he called Sir Don as Parsimonious in some player remuneration issue, he asked Sachin to quit cricket and much more examples. His Brother Greg reveals a similar attitude during his stint with Team India. They make a good family tradition. Even Mr. Buchanan did same wherever he went. I wonder is this a Aussie way or just their generation of cricketers are too obtuse? It is not a PC cricket game to shuffle old players with the new one to see who is better, that was nobody's problem. India did very well under 4 different captains in the past 5 years and No:1 test status was just a consequence of their good work and for sports like cricket there is no destination.

Posted by nair_ottappalam on (January 12, 2010, 11:35 GMT)

Ian has got it absolutely right. How could a team win a test match without taking 20 wickets? There are no players of the calibre of Kapil Dev, Chandrashekhar & Kumble in the Indian side at present. Harbhajan is not at his deadly form which he enjoyed time and again against Aussies. Zaheer has been a little inconsistent owing to various injuries. Although Ishant had done well against Aussies, he has been an utter failure against other teams. Sreesanth is never "Santh". The end result is although Zaheer is a good bowler, there is no great support for him. On the other side, as Ian has brought out there has been a good bench of batsmen in the Indian side. They no longer needs one Dravid or Tendulkar to hold the innings together. With the likes of Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Kohli and the captain himself India is one of the best, if not the best, batting sides. If at all the likes of Anderson, Steyn, Onions, etc come to support Zaheer things would be far better in India's favour.

Posted by shailesh_1983 on (January 12, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

Mr.Chappel , it is easy to criticise when Team Australia is not on Rank 1, and infact we have produced pretty good results outside India as well as, records of Opening stands by Sehwag and Gambhir clearly states that. You can ask Sanjay Manjrekar as well. Yes , Australia failed to produce the replacement for J Langer, G McGrath,M Hayden and many more...sad to hear all this,

Team India is playing well n will play well...

see inconsistency in changing Opening players for Team Australia...Sometimes Watson-Katich, Sometimes Watson-Hughes...and many more...

Agree with MadhuPani n his last statement...ofcourse...After Ricky Ponting who will turn aussie gears like him....M Clarke? huge Doubt on him...See Hussey is also edging towards retirement....

Posted by Vkarthik on (January 12, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

What Ian chappell says is a very very obvious thing. Even an amature cricket fan could figure out himself. But Ian chappell has to realize same can be extended to other teams also. Each team currently have some weakness or the other. By virtue of that India can definitely stay at no.1 longer than Chappell thinks. You should not compare India to West Indies of 80s, Australia of 2000s. Compare this team to other teams. Top 4 are more or less equal.

Posted by AnaghaMohan on (January 12, 2010, 11:31 GMT)

I do not agree at all with Chappell. He should do some home work to find if OZs had any resources to maintain the greatness that he is claiming or is he suggesting that Aussies intentionally had fallen back to see if others can catch up? .....which is ridiculous.Why didn't Aussies find great replacements for those greats(from Waugh to hayden). Did anyone in the world ask them not to produce greats anymore? Same logic holds for India or others, if they do not have great resources or replacements they will lose No.01 spot, let OZs catch them if they are good enough or when other Teams have fallen back. Hah!

It is as simple- had India or any other country beaten OZs ( when they were a great side) then how will they be a great side. Because none had beaten them they were a great side and now every one is beating them, including the Kiwis, they are not a great side-simple, he should accept it.

Posted by Ali.Aftabb on (January 12, 2010, 11:31 GMT)

One thing has been proved over the years in our parts, even positive criticism has always been taken negatively

Chappell has made a point which everyone knows so why insult him

I totally agree with Ian Chappell and after 50 years only those teams will be remembered who have sustained the No.1 spot for some time. If we just summarize eras of cricket. We say till 80s, it was WI era and post that it is Aus era. No one really care or remember one tournament win or few months of No.1 rankings. Cricket is all about consistency

Posted by nikita_karthick on (January 12, 2010, 11:29 GMT)

Agree with Mr.Ian. BCCI should take full responsiblity and develop good First class cricket system in India rather IPL. I believe IPL is not only killing test cricket as well as fast bowlers too... Huge pontential spent on wrong places...... This year Ranji trophy's QFs and SFs were dull drawn matches!!! I can not understand why BCCI is not ready to develop dead pitches!!!! zaheer & harbhajan are good but Zaheer is not equal to Marshall or macgrath or holding... Harbhajan is not equal to warne or murali...... Champion team certainly need a champion bowler!!! a champ bowler needs a good pitch to bowl not on concrete floors

Posted by paone on (January 12, 2010, 11:28 GMT)

Please stop talking foolishly Mr Chappel. From the way you speak it makes me think that you are not able to digest the fact that India is at No.1 spot. It is not the Indian team problem if the ausies players are retired and they are not able to find quality players who can make them reach the No.1 spot. So you mean to say that there are no good players after the McGrath's and Shane warne's ?. Being a good player and commentator what happened to your sports man spirit?. Though India may not have a champion bowler(s), they have good decent bowlers which can make them reach the No.1 spot and maintain it for long time. can you show me one champion bowler in the ausie present team?...If every team has a champion bowler then the game of cricket will not be interesting. Its like you are challenging the indian team, so please ask the ausie team to prove by winning the champion bowler less team. Please do not make such foolish comments again!!

Posted by Vkarthik on (January 12, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

What Ian chappell says is a very very obvious thing. Even an amature cricket fan could figure out himself. But Ian chappell has to realize same can be extended to other teams also. Each team currently have some weakness or the other. By virtue of that India can definitely stay at no.1 longer than Chappell thinks. You should not compare India to West Indies of 80s, Australia of 2000s. Compare this team to other teams. Top 4 are more or less equal.

Posted by Steve_harold on (January 12, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

Ian's comments are right on target with respect to India needing champion consistent bowlers but I would be reluctant to agree Aus being major force under bowlers like Mc G or Shane W. If it were not for their sledging tactics and playing mental games Aus would have been as regular team as any at that time, it's now that other teams have followed the persuit and Aus is being weekend in their own game.

Posted by rambo2111 on (January 12, 2010, 11:23 GMT)

I think it is childish for writers on this forum to get over-patriotic just because somebody points out an obvious flaw in the Indian team (I am Indian as well by the way). Ian Chappell is simply pointing out an area of weakness the Indian test team currently has which might prevent them from retaining the No. 1 spot for as long a time as WI or Aus held it, he is not saying that India does not deserve to be No. 1 currently. His comments should be debated for their content (just like we would debate a comment from Gavaskar or Viv Richards about the Aus team) rather than accusing him of being anti-India. I agree with Ian's comment that India needs to fill this weakness soon to remain No. 1. Throughout history, the teams with the best bowling attacks have been No. 1 test teams in their respective eras (Aus in the 70s with lillee & thommo, WI from the late 70s to mid 90s, Aus thereafter).

Posted by rhonaldmoses on (January 12, 2010, 11:22 GMT)

@ vas006 : I don't understand Indian fans who believe their team should be immune to criticism.

yea rite... no Indians will believe that India is a true # 1 which is true. But still, we don't buy Mr. Chappell's comment that India waited for Australia to fall in order to beat them. Check the comments before commenting pal.

Posted by Idie on (January 12, 2010, 11:20 GMT)

I dont rate Australia as the number 1 side either. I would have thought it was a greater achievement if they had caught up with West Indies while West Indies was still very much a great side. It seems like Australia had thrown their hands and said that they are very strong and very hard to beat and waited for West Indies to fall back and then caught them. I agree that the Great West Indians or Invincible Aussies were great sides. There were many reasons why they did what they did. I think the young Indian side has the attitude that will help them to be among the best teams for some time.

Posted by rrshirsa on (January 12, 2010, 11:15 GMT)

True that India lacks dominating bowlers, but there is a lot of potential in the quartet of Ishant, Zaheer, Sreesanth and RP Singh. Good enuf to get 20 wickets. The problem is the spin department. Bhajji is overrated. Putting things in perspective though, lets look at who are the challengers to India's number 1 position Australia: Poor bowling unit. Johnson is rubbish on most occasions, he has a few good spells here and there against poor batting opposition, Bollinger hasnt tasted failure yet. Nathan hauritz..come on. Batting: After Ponting, what? South Africa: First need to win at home. struggling against a good English side. Again, no spinner, for how many years now? England: A quality, well-balanced side. What a find in Graeme Swann! but then again, its England! Rest of the world: lets not discuss. Good thing about Cricket today is no one team is dominant. Aus when they dominated played against poor opposition including India. it will be an interesting battle for supremacy

Posted by TMS8137 on (January 12, 2010, 11:13 GMT)

Good to see some honest reactions to what the fans have to say to this. India really aren't a long term number one unless Zaheer and harbhajan step it up consistently.

Posted by R.Square on (January 12, 2010, 11:13 GMT)

I cannot agree more to Ian above. However, the experts have missed out on the fact that the game has changed to its very nature in the last few years. It is not completely justifiable to say that teams lack champion bowlers today like that of past & moreover if the statistics (bowlers average or strike rate) are the only criteria of judging how good of a bowler one is. If was never then atleast today the game is dominated by batsmen. Compare the averages of bowlers & batsmen from past & now. Steyn, Jhonson, Asif, Murali, Swan, Harbhajan, Anderson, Ntini, Bond & Clark (the top 10 in ICCs test bowlers ranking) have all been hammered on the flat sub-continent pitches in the recent past. Apart from odd brilliance on lively pitches outside sub-continent none of them have been consistent enough to be called a champion bowler. For a team like India, when a batsman like Sehwag can help the score close to 400 by end of day 1, its average & part-time bowlers are gud enuf to do the rest for a win

Posted by ramanan.ch on (January 12, 2010, 11:02 GMT)

As pointed out by few other people, Ian should be responsible while commenting. I would rather say Aussies were lucky that there weren't that great bunch of great batters around(in a single team) during their time. To be honest, I have no doubt that the Mcgrath or Warne would be treated the same way the other good bowlers like Murali are treated. However, it really stupid to compare that way which we can't prove as those players are not playing. Also, remember that the same so called best Aussie team was beaten to bulp whenever they visited India during thier great time. However, nobody said that they were not a great team because they didn't do well in India. Moreover, those same great players like Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting were made look like novices by young bowler like Ishant Sharma during India's visit to Australia. That doesn't mean that they are not great players. Apart from the fact he pointed out that India doesn't have good bowlers, the article is quiet disappointing.

Posted by shaishav2020 on (January 12, 2010, 10:58 GMT)

Another interesting point to be put up is that, according to Ian does not have champion bowlers at the moment. I completely Agree with that. But I don't see any reason why India will not be a long term no.1, because apparently, the other two teams contending for the no.1 spot, which are Australia and South Africa do not have complete resources either. Australia do not have a champion bowling line up either, with Brett Lee injured and old, Bollinger, Johnson, Hauritz and others lacking the accuracy and power that Mcgrath and Warne had. They are nowhere close to being like Warne or McGrath. Also, their batting line up has been hit badly due to many retirements, and also Ponting has become old and would retire in 3-4 years. While South Africa has a pretty mediocre batting line up, and a bowling line up that is not consistent. SA has good bowlers like Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn but they inconsistent at all. So, among the three teams, India seems to have the best chance of a long term no.1

Posted by arup_g on (January 12, 2010, 10:57 GMT)

Mr Chappell is right in saying India are lacking a champion bowler. Zaheer Khan has done wonders for India's seam bowling over the past few years but lacks support. India are in need of a quality out and out pace bowler. The likes of Sreesanth and Ishant Sharma have promised, but both lack accuracy and consistent pace at the top level. Every test team around the world has a world class fast bowler in their ranks - Australia have Mitchell Johnson, S.Africa have Dale Steyn, England have James Anderson to a certain extent and Pakistan have Mohammed Asif. Also the drop in Harbhajan Singh's interest and form in test cricket has taken its toll on India. He is still a quality spinner on his day, but lacks the penetration he once did in the early 2000s and the consistency Anil Kumble provided India for many years. India's young bowlers need to stop showing early promise, and concentrate on consistency and develop a lot more accuracy

Posted by TequillaGuy on (January 12, 2010, 10:57 GMT)

I do agree with Mr Ian about Indian bowling attack but fail to see that Australia's greatest team was not challenged by India. India defeated the mighty Australians in India and then retained the Border-Gavasker trophy in Australia. India is the only team which stopped Australia when they were unstoppable, that too not once but twice!

So Mr Ian, some respect for Ganguly and Co.

Posted by arun_39 on (January 12, 2010, 10:55 GMT)

I don't think Chappell is disrcrediting the Indian achievement. he is only talking about sustaining the #1 rating and what it takes to achieve that. Fact remains that the Aussies with McGrath, Warner, Hayden, Gilchrist etc. dominated consistently till winning against India in India. The 2005 Ashes defeat happened only after that as the side aged. In 2003-04 McGrath and Warne did not play against India - they were the two champion bowlers !! It was a great achievement by India still. This is a great milestone for Indian cricket and hopefully if we can get a combination of bowlers that can take 20 wickets consistently anywhere while Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid & Laxman are still around then we may get closer to the champion Windies (80s and early 90s) and Aussie (late 90s, early 00s) sides. Oh by the way we still haven't beaten SA in SA yet.

Posted by jag69 on (January 12, 2010, 10:51 GMT)

Dear Sanyaal, you are completely incorrect. Ian Chappell is 100% correct. Cricket is about getting the opposition out twice. The West Indian team had Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding as champion bowlers, whilst Australia had Glenn McGarth and Shane Warne. These bowlers were the best in their era because they could bowl in any conditions. India has a brilliant batting side, however, name world class bowlers they have? Sharma bowled very well in Australia, but is not world class (yet). Pathan etc are serviceable, but not in the same class. Harbajhan is almost world class, but lef spinners turn games, not off spinners. India needs to invest more in the bowling and fielding areas for them to be Number 1 for a long time. Australia does not have a world class bowler at the moment. Ian Chappell is the most impartial commentator there is, and for anyone to mock him, really do not understand cricket or sport generally.

Posted by Rubz on (January 12, 2010, 10:49 GMT)

Its good to have ranking system, but u really dont need ranking to judge a team. At some stage Australia and South Africa were very close in ranking but Australia Destroyed South Africa in both Home & Away and even the South Africans were not surprised with that.Currently There is no such team who is undoubtebly best in the world. I would say its very close between India, Australia, South Africa..how about England now? The fall of Australia has actually made it more even between teams. Now I will not be surprised the World No1 India get beatn by New Zeland in a test series which just to show how even the competition is. India is no way an undoubted champion yet.But they have the potential, so as Australia, SA, Eng and others.

Posted by shaishav2020 on (January 12, 2010, 10:49 GMT)

When Mr. Chappell says that India has beaten Australia only in the recent past, I think he is forgetting that India has beaten Australia even when the likes of Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh, Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Glenn Mcgrath were around. India beat Australia 2-1 in the 2001 Test Series at a time when Mcgrath, Warne, Hayden and the lot were in top form. Also, India was one of the first teams to beat Australia on Australian soil after a long time in 2003-04. India drew that Test series 1-1. But India lost the next Test Series against Australia 2-1. Yet, if you see the figures from 2001 to 2007, not counting the recent 2 Test Series, India has won 4, Australia has won 4, and 4 tests have been drawn, which means India has a Success ratio of 33.33% which is the same as Australia's success percentage. So, India has been equally successful against Australia, and I don't see any reason how India did not challenge Australia during that period.

Posted by ashka on (January 12, 2010, 10:46 GMT)

I dont agree with Ian..... Did the Australian team beat WI regularly while they were at their best with richards, holding, greenidge, haynes, marshall, roberts....... It seems he felt that Aussie team will rule forever..........ha ha ha....really funny. Come on Ian, accept the reality.... no team can rule forever...neither they can fill the holes created by their ancestors.....it needs some time to regroup.

Posted by MadhuPani on (January 12, 2010, 10:46 GMT)

Mr. Chappel I completely agree about your bowling view. But why dont you think of this, all these days Aussie topped the rank table bcoz there were no quality players in other teams before, now its the other way round. Do not be jealous of other teams climbing up the ladder in the ranking table. If you think present Aussie team do not have quality player, then better ask them to come to cricket world once they find a top class players.

Posted by jayantjain9500 on (January 12, 2010, 10:36 GMT)

So Mr Chappel accepts that this Australian team is not good enough. What is his prescription for making it a Champion Team again.

India has reached to No 1 with the same bowlers and now in Ishant and Sudeep we have better prospects for future. They may not be Mgrath or Marshall, but it is the best fast bowling line up India has ever had.

Australia has never even competed with India in this century in any fairly played series, even with their all champion players.

This Indian team has plenty of Self Belief and that is the primary reason for them becoming No1.

I think India will sustain this sepremacy long enough. Chappells should earnestly start work on stopping the downfall of Australian team

Posted by rhonaldmoses on (January 12, 2010, 10:35 GMT)

"I would have thought it was a greater achievement if they had caught up with Australia while Australia was still very much a great side"

What about India squaring the Stepehn Waugh series? They were the same mighty team during that time. While I agree with Mr. Chappell that India ain't a long term number 1 yet due to lack of a genuine quickie; I don't think India like rest of the teams waited for Australia to fall down from their domination in order to beat them.

It seems when it comes to Asian teams, they have to prove a LOT to get a good compliment.

Posted by trenta01 on (January 12, 2010, 10:31 GMT)

To those people making reference of Indias solid performance in Aus in 2003-04 I trust that you will go back and notice that Mcgrath and Warne were not involved in the series you could only manage a draw against a severly under strength attack. and that as of yet India still hasn't won in Aus or SA. Comments look close to the mark with the imminent retirements of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and co The Indian bowling attack will have to lift to keep the number one spot. A quick note to all those who still carry on about cheating it is Indias fault that we dont have home umpires anymoreafter 30 years of consitent cheating on their home grounds

Posted by yellowflash on (January 12, 2010, 10:30 GMT)

India don't have enough champion bowlers to take 20 wickets on a non responsive pitch but when you think about it no team in the world does at the moment. Also Bollinger taking wickets against poor batting line ups like Pakistan and the West Indies on home soil, certainly doesn't make him a champion bowler. His real ability will be tested in India playing Test cricket.

Australia only have Mitchell Johnson, South Africa only have Dale Steyn, Pakistan only have Mohammed Asif, Sri Lanka only have Muttiah Muralitharan and India only have Zaheer Khan. Considering this, Test match cricket between the top 3-4 teams is sure to be competitive but i beleive India would remain no. 1 for some time if they actually had the opportunity to play as many tests as everyone else. South Africa haven't been playing well and Australia aren't playing anywhere near as good as they were playing 2 years ago.

If India's batting line up stays the same till 2011 i reckon they'll be no. 1 for some time.

Posted by vas006 on (January 12, 2010, 10:28 GMT)

Chappelli once again hits the nail.

I don't understand Indian fans who believe their team should be immune to criticism. Ian Chappell is highly respected because he doesn't play favourites.

The truth is that since Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath retired, Australia have won 15 out of 30 test matches. In that same time, India have recorded 13 wins from the same amount of games.

If some Indian fans believe their ascent to number 1 means they have peaked, then they are kidding themselves. Fact is there are five teams that are more or less equally matched to beat one another at any given time.

India still have and much to achieve if they wish to be held in the same pedestal as great West Indies or Australian teams of the past. By the time India get another great fast bowler, decent spinner or an allrounder, Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman will have all retired.

Great teams whitewash their opponents. They don't win one match and then play for draws in the rest. That is India at the moment...

Posted by choc56 on (January 12, 2010, 10:24 GMT)

I must say I have to agree with Ian on this one. When someone tells me India is no 1, I've always said "Sure, but where are the bowlers?"

Since Kapil Dev,the spin quartet,and probably Kumble, not one single bowler who's truly world-class has emerged from India.

Its strange that with all the money at the disposal of the BCCI and a pool of 1.2 billion people, India seems to have trouble finding decent bowlers. Someone like Ishanth Sharma has proved to be a one-series wonder.

As I've been saying all along, one of the reasons for India's mediocre status (apart from that Fab Five batting line-up!), has been the media exposure and attendant hero-worship these young cricketers get - which they are ill-prepared to handle. Consequently, their fitness and performance goes down. Over to the new bowling coach Simons!

I know I've set myself up for a barrage from the Indian correspondents, but, as a Sri Lankan, we have learnt to face facts - however stubborn!

Posted by yellowflash on (January 12, 2010, 10:19 GMT)

I agree with Chappelle that India don't have two champion bowlers but i don't agree with him saying he is struggling to find one. Zaheer Khan is a true champion fast bowler and has consistently taken wickets at home and abroad for a number of years. This is in both one day internationals and test cricket. He is a bowler who can hit the same line and length consistently as well as swing the ball both ways. There are not many bowlers around the world who can do that these days. People don't seem to recognise Zaheer because he hasn't played much test cricket lately and he has mostly been playing on dead subcontinental wickets. Still he has been taking wickets. Other than Zaheer it is true that India don't have bowlers who can be consistently successful. However, given bowler friendly conditions they are probably the best team along with Pakistan to use them to the fullest.

Posted by kalpeshmashru on (January 12, 2010, 10:17 GMT)

While I completely agree with Ian Chappell's assessment on India not having any champion bowlers, I don't think it is India's fault when they toured Australia in 2003-2004 when Glenn McGrath was injured and Shane Warne was banned. India always played Shane Warne with consummate ease and it is open for debate how they would have done against Glenn McGrath. The side that India played in 2003-2004 was the same great Aussie side except the two bowlers. But he has made a valid point when he says there aren't too many champion bowlers in India; guess the only point missing is there aren't too many champion bowlers around the world with the exception of Dale Steyn and the strike of most bowlers these days are exteremly high which clearly means the pitches around the world have become so batsmen friendly and really if the pitches don't change not just India, we'll struggle to find a Test Nation which will hold the No 1 post for a long time and win consistently across the globe.

Posted by truthspeaker on (January 12, 2010, 10:13 GMT)

Mr Ian Chappel is wrong - India always had a mediocre bowling since the retirement of Bedi, Pras, Chandra and Venkat - Despite our average bowling skills, the extra-ordinary batting has helped India win serie sin New Zealand, England and Lanka recently - India's batting is the best in business - even after Dravid and Sachin we have Kohli, Dhoni, Vijay, Sehwag - Indian batting is terrific - teams win either with Ambrose/Walsh like bowling or Sachin/Dravid like batting

Teams do not win with Asif/Gul/Rana like bowling combos - Pakistan brags better than India in bowling, but manages to lose every Test - India thrashed the best Steve Waugh could offer

so, sorry Ian

Posted by sachin150 on (January 12, 2010, 10:02 GMT)

I dont agree with Ian Chappel, India was the only team to trouble Australia when they were at their peak, They were 3 series between India and Aus in that period and the results were 2-1,1-1 and 1-2, and even if you take 3 series before that, India had won 2 of them(though they were badly thrashed away and won at home), so India was the only team Aus had a bad record when they were at their peak

Posted by patilsunil on (January 12, 2010, 10:00 GMT)

I would like to ask mr. chappel to name few champion bowlers playing at the moment. It seems he is denying Indias No. 1 claim as usual. In last 12 months India mostly played in subcontinent which is well known graveyard for bowlers. Whenever they played away they performed better than local bowlers. AUS tour and NZ tour are the examples.

Time will tell how correct he is!

Posted by profrm on (January 12, 2010, 9:57 GMT)

We have a saying in Hindi ' Andhon mein kaana raja' meaning the one-eyed man is king in the land of the blind! Can Ian Chappell name another country today which has one champion bowler, leave alone two, of the calibre of a McGrath or a Warne, or a Kumble or a Murali,or a Holding or a Roberts? At least let's be happy that especially when nobody has bowlers of that competence, Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and their mates can rule the roost !

Posted by Nethag on (January 12, 2010, 9:54 GMT)

I can agree with chappell. But, We cant say that india will not be a long term No.1 Because we have such talented bowlers like Zaheer, Ishant, Sreesanth and RP Singh. But, the issue is they are not consistent all time. They have to work hard in their strength and weakness. They must learn some things from the other bowlers like Steyn, Morkel.

We have such a great batting line-up. Rather I would say one of the best in recent times. If our bowlers are consistent, We will be the No.1 surely.

Posted by ChintuBangSachFan on (January 12, 2010, 9:54 GMT)

Of course, Australia will come back and be the best team in the world, with Mitchell Johnson, Hilfenhaus and Bollinger soon becoming the best bowlers in the history!

Posted by scorpdj on (January 12, 2010, 9:49 GMT)

While I do respect Mr. Chappells thoughts, I think he does not get out of his "when we were kings" mindset, these days anything good you say about any other team the Aussies will not miss an opportunity to remind us of their once great team...wasn't it India that ended their unbeatable run and beat them in India. Same thing with Tendulkar..no sooner you mention he is the best...out comes Bradman's average! Can we please talk present...now...today...India is the No. 1 ranked team period! The averages cannot be compared because Indian pitches are batsmen friendly...wasn't is Wasim Akram who said that Zaheer Khan is the best left arm bowler in the world at present...the same set of bowlers defeated...NZ, WI and Eng in test matches on their own home soil. Yes we do lack a tearway fast bowler and our fielding sucks! I think Cricinfo can find a slightly more objective opinion!

Posted by mangesh10 on (January 12, 2010, 9:48 GMT)

I do not agree with Ian, india do have champion bowlers. Ishant & Sreeshant do have talent & capable of becoming a force. But where Test cricket? I have not seen 5 match test series after England's last tour to Australia. Do you think Johnson & Bollinger are champion bowlers? I think we need to wait a little here, before starting to jump to conclusions.

Posted by mubeenkemisaal on (January 12, 2010, 9:48 GMT)

Mr.Ian Chappell..!! Well now every one knows Team India is No.1 in tests.There is time for everything as well in sports..!!West Indies dominated at times than aussies did now its time for Indians..!!So on debates you can support the Team India..!!Yeah..!!I know its hurts you being an Aussie..!!champion team is not build in a day so not champion blowers..Indians have talent,India will find champion bolwers.!!

Posted by sct911 on (January 12, 2010, 9:45 GMT)

Agreed. No team has the capabilities to dominate like the great West Indies and Australian teams have in the past. It's very good that we will see even competition for quite a few years to come.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (January 12, 2010, 9:44 GMT)

I am an indian, and we are very very passionate when it comes to praising or worshiping our cricket gods. We even build temples for them and rising to no 1 in the true and ultimate format of the cricket is time to celebrate for us. But I agree 100% with ian chappell. We do have best batting line up amongst the current teams and it can even be compared with great windies and ausie line ups who were undisputable no 1. But when it comes to blowling we only have zaheer khan, there is no anil kumble and not even sreenath the last champion fast bowler india produced. So ians argument contains real weightage. To achieve is one thing and a very difficult thing but to sustain it for long time will take 100% champion team. And if you count the real no 1 players among the current 11 then we are at 70% only. It also doesnt reflect very highly on the quality of appositions as a team with world class batting line up and without a real good all rounder and couple of good bowlers can be no 1.

Posted by rahulvasanth on (January 12, 2010, 9:42 GMT)

Mr. Chapell seems to have forgotten that 'mighty' Australians led by the legendary Steve Waugh in his last series, barely managed to draw the series. If that was not the best Australian line up then what was, Mr.Chappell?

Posted by aditya_sd on (January 12, 2010, 9:40 GMT)

What about 2001 when India beat Australia 2-1 in the Test series? I do recall that that series featured all the Aussie 'greats' like Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Gilchrist, McGrath and Warne? In fact it was India who were missing Kumble (their biggest match-winner ever) and Srinath to injury and players like Harbhajan and Zaheer had just started playing tests.

Posted by CA_ASHISH on (January 12, 2010, 9:30 GMT)

Though I agree with Mr. Chappell about India not having any champion bowlers, I still thisnk that the bowlers that we have, have the capability to lift themselves. This is evident from the last tour. And regarding the question of India beating Australia, I dont think Oz was off their peak in 2001. And him saying that teams beating australia now are not that good, because they couldnt beat the latter when its champion players were still there is like saying that a bowler in today's era is not good enough because he wouldnt have been able to get Sir Bradman out. And going by the same line, I think Australian batsmen are not as good as they seem because they would have folded like a pack of cards against the windies attack of 70s. So while it IS true that India still has to set its bowling in order, for it to become a dominent team, but I think Mr Chappell's patriotism is coming in the way of his appreciation of a team which is finally rising to the challaange.

Posted by amit.80s on (January 12, 2010, 9:21 GMT)

I totally disagree with Ian Chappell I think he forgot that India did beat his great Australian side in 2001 at home when all their great players are in the line up and the same great team lost the ashes to not so great England team in 2005. And if he thinks that all the other teams have almost gave up and said its hard to beat Australia and they have been waiting for their top players to retire then he is wrong again because Australia also took some time to reach the top or we can say that they were waiting for the mighty West Indian side to fall down after all their great players retire. Point to be noted Australia was the third team to win the world cup behind WI and India. So you cannot just hold on to the past every team has came a long way and its time to look at present and keep working hard for the future because things cannot be the same for ever.

Posted by waqas19 on (January 12, 2010, 9:20 GMT)

good thought by ian ...would love to hear comments from harsha on this...true zaheer is a good bowler and has improved over time but he still does lack a killer instinct...other than that i dont see a striking bowler in their lines up as of yet...true is that for south africa as well

Posted by saanand on (January 12, 2010, 9:18 GMT)

I agree with Ian, test matcher are won by the bowlers, India needs atleast two great bowlers to support Zahir Khan to sustain at the No.1 position

Posted by Sreevalsam on (January 12, 2010, 9:16 GMT)

No team now has anyone who can be called a champion bowler. Australians can never accept the fact that India is playing good cricket - without sledging! Ian, now INDIA is a better team than Australia!

Posted by Dinker-cktlover on (January 12, 2010, 9:12 GMT)

Chappel is spot on regarding India's shortcoming.However its had to agree completely with his statement "other teams didnt give Aus evr a run for their money when they were the best in the world"in 2003-04 India tour of Aus except in the fist test India was very competitive and the 4 test series ended 1-1 with India totally dominating the last test at Adelaide which Aus managed to save thanks to Tunga's one last rear guad action.But such matches wre very rare in those days and Aus team of this decade was suely the all conquering bullis similar to the mighty WI.But in comparison i think Aus dont have a chance.(remeber how Aus struggled against Harmison's pace in Ashes 2005..WI have not one or two but 6 bowlers better than Harmi!!!!!!!!!

Posted by aquahunt on (January 12, 2010, 9:10 GMT)

i dont agree with Mr. Chappell, India is a champion team and we nearly beat Australia in 2003. when their so called champion players was around. India has always perfomed well against Australia. It was India who beat West Indies when they were in their prime form. & It was India who beat Australia in their Prime Form.

Posted by bikku on (January 12, 2010, 9:08 GMT)

Love to hear from Harsha, Ian always makes valid points so does sanjay. I always use S Rajesh work in my work. great show and i hope it must will go on and on.

Posted by swamicrony on (January 12, 2010, 9:02 GMT)

I Agree with you Mr.Chappel for saying India lacking champion bowlers in the team. But Even a rookie attack than this team beat Australia in Adelide on 2004. That time all the champion australians are there in the Team including the great captian Steve Waugh. But still India put Aussies on Back foot in the final test in which steve played out of his skins to save that match(Usually they never play for saving). India can well be a top team with the current form of other top 4 teams in the rating. when everyone got to their strength even the amateur bowlers like Ishanth and Sreesanth will get maturity and rule the world as a champion bowlers... Dont under estimate Indian Youngsters.. Its not a emotional reply but I hope the future of Indian cricket is brighter than what you expect.... When the likes of sachin, dravid and laxman calls a day... then there is a replacement for all of them in the coming generation.. Best of luck India for a long Run as a Champions of the world...

Posted by mks_619 on (January 12, 2010, 9:00 GMT)

I think India are struggling badly in the bowling department and that is a negative point for a team defending No. 1 spot. After failure of Irfan Pathan and his dropping out of team, India have always seen to be struggling in bowling. India needs champion bowlers like Johnson and Bollinger.

Posted by shiva_slogsout on (January 12, 2010, 8:57 GMT)

Spot on by Ian! The Current Indian team is not really comparable to the Great West Indians or Invincible Aussies. India needs to have the same batting talent (remember, Sachin, Rahul, and Laxman are all on the brink of their Careers) as they do now and additionally at least 4-5 quality bowlers with 2 in bench always ready for at least another decade to dominate World Cricket. There are no bowlers with Raw pace or No spinners with Rank turn any more. For that matter, India have never had both of that. Being a Spinner friendly atmosphere, it is indeed surprising to note they don't posses one high quality Spinner, for that matter no Country does. There are no Warnes, Muralis, and Kumbles any more. To add to that, the Wickets have gone crazy with all being bowlers nightmares. Even I would even go ahead and say most of these batsmen (from Subcontinents majorly) are doing well only because of the Batting friendly surfaces around the Globe.

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