November 9, 2008

Where to now?

Australia's bowling isn't up to their usual high standards; India are a side in transition, hamstrung by poor fielding
36



Australia's bowling has lacked balance. The arrival of Jason Krejza will hopefully remedy that © AFP

Australia and India have provided some epic battles in the last decade but where are they headed once this hard fought series is over?

For many years Australia won above 70% of their matches, thanks to a strong and varied attack built around the magic of Shane Warne and the miserly accuracy of Glenn McGrath. Suddenly in India they found themselves with a reasonable pace attack, albeit not entirely suited to Indian conditions, and a spin attack too dependant on a bunch of part-timers. Not surprisingly they were unable to dismiss India cheaply, and there were been serious questions about the whereabouts of the next wicket-taking spinner.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Australia's slow-bowling stocks they still have an extremely strong batting line-up, headed by the brilliant Ricky Ponting and the belligerent Matthew Hayden. Australia are still going to post decent scores, but supported by an unbalanced attack they can expect to endure a few more losses and a lot more draws.

When Jason Krejza made a belated but telling appearance in the series, suddenly the Australian attack appeared a lot better balanced. When you look at the prospects of a team the first thing to evaluate is the attack. A team will not win consistently without a strong and balanced bowling quartet.

This is why India's future, despite an aging middle-order, has seemed much rosier than Australia's through the majority of this series. They have the ideal balance in attack: a left-arm pace bowler who swings the ball; a thoughtful, tall right-armer with pace and bounce; a successful offspinner; and a budding young legspinner.

There appears to be depth in both pace and spin bowling, but India's flaw - and it has been with them for a long time - is the failure to produce a top-class allrounder. Apart from that headache the big question for India is one of timing: is the great batting era passing just as the attack is reaching full potency?

There are signs that India has some viable replacement batting options. In Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir they have a dynamic opening combination that should be around for some time to terrorise opposition bowling attacks. The promising debut of Murali Vijay should give cause for confidence that there's a replacement opener on call for any emergency. He also looked like he could easily fill a top-order batting slot if necessary. If Rahul Dravid doesn't pull out of his form nose-dive, the elegant young right-hander could find himself batting at No. 3.

Then there's Rohit Sharma, who was impressive in both technique and temperament when he toured Australia. Importantly, he's now turning potential into consistent runs at the first-class level and the way is now open to blood him in the Test side with Sourav Ganguly retiring.

 
 
The big question for India is one of timing: is the great batting era passing just as the attack is reaching full potency
 

Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman are still displaying good form and they should be around for a while to guide the younger players through the initiation stage. The one major area of concern for the Indian selectors is to find young players who can both bat and field. At crucial times in the current series India had the chance to put Australia away but didn't because of sloppy fielding. No team can expect to dominate without good catching to back a strong bowling attack.

There are a couple of things you know about Australian cricket: they will continue to bat well and their out cricket is generally of a high standard, and they will always play hard for the full five days. A depleted attack will see their win percentage drop considerably from the previous lofty levels, and while Krejza will give the attack better balance, they need to unearth more depth in both genuine pace and wrist-spin.

Unless India address their flaws in the field and the lack of an allrounder, they will continue to play slightly below the potential of a team with a good attack. These sloppy aspects of their play will also stop India supplanting Australia as the dominant No. 1, but the rivalry should still be on-going and extremely intense.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Divinetouch on November 10, 2008, 19:19 GMT

    It is time for Hayden to retire. His age showed in the last series against India and was fortunate to make as much as he did in his last innings in Nagpur. Marsh is a good batsman and should be given fis opportunity.

    Other bowlers like Flintoff will sort Ricky Ponting out as Ishant Sharma has and soon Ricky will have to pack it in too.

  • Uranium on November 10, 2008, 16:44 GMT

    If Australia can find a threatening spinner they are not far away from resurgence I feel. We will have to wait and see if Krejza is that man. He looks to be a fighter and hes got some mongrel in him. Shane Watson has been a revelation this series. At the start I was thinking he is not cut out for test cricket but he has proven himself with patience and endurance in both batting and bowling. He had the fitness to keep bowling at 140 kph and at times looked our most threatening bowler. Keep in mind this is his first test series in the subcontinent, he will be an even better prospect on Australian pitches. There is the prospect of 2 decent all rounders in Watson and Symonds. Australia may only need to pick 2 pace bowlers out of Lee, Johnson, Clark, Tait, Siddle etc. With Haddin coming in at no 8 that is an awfully long batting line up. In summary, with a threatening spinner and some key players finding form, e.g. Lee, Haddin, Australia could be back in the game.

  • CiMP on November 10, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Ian Chappell has put it right. More than anything else India needs to improve ground fielding and catching. the second area of concern is batting and bowling consistency - more so the former. The third aspect is the pace of scoring - when Sehwag leaves there is too much of a drop in run rate.

    In none too distant future India will be finding itself where Australia is now - transition pains. That is a real worry. Compared to CA, the BCCI is nowhere in showing vision to build a future. Except their own!

  • Governor on November 10, 2008, 9:38 GMT

    I agree with you Chappelli!!

    India have a well balanced attack that bowls in the right areas to dismiss the batsmen whilst we need to unearth a quality leg spin bowler and genuine fast bowler.

    There is a problem. The Centre of Excellent in Brisbane has not been a successful breeding ground for test cricketers. Since Rod Marsh's departure from the Cricket Academy in 2001, there have been only 3 graduates who have gone on to play at test match level (Shane Watson, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson) whilst Doug Bollinger and Shaun Marsh have been selected on test tours.

    With the selectors picking a squad of players to attend the COA in Brisbane, does Cricket Australia and the selectors offer the states an incentive to blood the young inductees to play shield cricket for their state?

    Aaron Finch, from Victoria, cannot get a regular shield game for Victoria whilst Moses Henriques and Phillip Hughes can get a regular game for NSW.

    We have a huge problem in Australian cricket.

  • Betting on November 10, 2008, 2:57 GMT

    I really think people are overly excited about Krejza and the returns he got from his first Test. But isn't that the point ... overly excited? I'm Australian and extremely happy to see a spinner get a fine debut, but it's only one game. If careers were decided on their first game, Bob Massie and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (he was the guy, along with Qadir that got me interested in legspin bowling) as well as quite a few others would have had very lengthy and successful ones.

  • avatar_death on November 10, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    I believe Ponting is seriously suffering from the retirements of Warne,Gilchrist etc one wonders how much kudos belongs to him and how much to these guys. The 4th day last session was headless chicken stuff. Over rates are cont a problem therefore a team that is supposedly so well prepared should also have the 'hurry it up' scenario down pat. Question? Whats the overrate when Clarke captained games. Is the answer a new captain even though it goes against the Aussie ethos to change captains. Never for a moment did i believe that the Aussies could win against a balanced looking India - especially with bad luck stalking them the whole tour - but that's not the point, the on field displays have lacked any direction. Australia still has a great team and the likes of Noffke, Hilfenhaus et al must be wondering what's going on. To me also the selectors need a shakeup - they have really bemused all. Hilditch failed at intl level because he couldn't stop hooking, this type of character flaw does not bode well

  • Nampally on November 10, 2008, 0:27 GMT

    India has a well balanced team as Ian rightly pointed out. Sehwag and Gambhir are the best openers whilst Dhoni is the best WK/batsman in the world today. Ishant and Zaheer provide the pace whildt Harbhajan, Chawla, Mishra and Ojha provide the spin attack. The middle order has Sachin, Laxman, Raina, Rohit, Yuvraj and M.Vijay with several backups. Inclusion of Fab 4 and Kumble had weakened the Indian fielding. With Raina, Rohit, Vijay and Yuvraj the fielding will improve significantly. This presents a strong line up. On the other hand the present Australian team is in the process of rebuilding. Lee and Haydon appear to be on the way out. Although Krejza got 12 wickets in his debut, they came at a huge cost - nearly 350 runs. Australia need an opening batsman & bowler to replace Haydon & Lee.In addition a good WK & spin bowling is needed. Ponting, Hussey and Clarke are good to fill the middle order. Symmonds was badly missed. Currently the Indian team is stronger than Australian team.

  • Kreacher_Rocks on November 9, 2008, 22:00 GMT

    To people complaining that Australia has been "forced" to use the SG ball - get a life. Whenever Australia plays the Ashes in England, Duke balls have to be used. I don't see people complaining then, particularly since Duke and SG have similar behaviour when it comes to the seam. The Kookaburra balls are notoriously poor for swinging, particularly when compared to the Dukes. SG falls midway between these for swing and is best suited for spin. It is just that the Aussie bowlers have been very inept with getting the ball to swing. Spinners like Krejza have had better luck with spinning, quite obviously.

  • sifter132 on November 9, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    smale25 - the difference is that Australia bowls slowly ALL the time. India bowls slowly only as a tactic. That doesn't make either side right though, cricket in general needs an over rate shake up.

    And Chaps talking about an all-rounder here is crap. Australia didn't have an all-rounder in the late 90s early 00s - their most dominant period. It certainly wasn't Steve Waugh, he barely bowled in that time and the Andrew Symonds experiment was long away. It was only after seeing Flintoff's value in 2005 that the selectors looked for an all-rounder. They went for Watson first, who promptly was injured, then they reached for Symonds. I would argue Australia has been a worse team since they started trying to play an allrounder since 2005. Before that it was the 6 specialist batsmen - Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Waugh bros, Martyn with 4 specialist bowlers Warne, MrGrath, Gillespie, Lee. That was a great side with Gilly at #7 - he was the only all-rounder we needed.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on November 9, 2008, 20:28 GMT

    A balanced, sober and realistic appraisal of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two sides. Ian is once again spot on - almost surgical as he probes the weak spots of the teams, detecting robust and healthy tissue in some instances and areas requiring further rehabillitation and recovery in others. Most appropriately as the series draws to a close, Ian offers a retrospective on the history of the rivalry between the two sides and where that rivalry stands today and how it might evolve in future.

    A stimulating and refreshing perspective on a saga by one of its central participants, for this is the same Ian Chappell who came to India in 1967 and wowed the watching multitudes with the twinkling footwork with which he mastered the wiles of Prasanna and Bedi. One of the true regrets for cricket fans of my generation was not being able to see Wadekar's "Invincibles" - fresh from their series wins in the Carribean and England - measure up to Chappelli's world conquering outfit.

  • Divinetouch on November 10, 2008, 19:19 GMT

    It is time for Hayden to retire. His age showed in the last series against India and was fortunate to make as much as he did in his last innings in Nagpur. Marsh is a good batsman and should be given fis opportunity.

    Other bowlers like Flintoff will sort Ricky Ponting out as Ishant Sharma has and soon Ricky will have to pack it in too.

  • Uranium on November 10, 2008, 16:44 GMT

    If Australia can find a threatening spinner they are not far away from resurgence I feel. We will have to wait and see if Krejza is that man. He looks to be a fighter and hes got some mongrel in him. Shane Watson has been a revelation this series. At the start I was thinking he is not cut out for test cricket but he has proven himself with patience and endurance in both batting and bowling. He had the fitness to keep bowling at 140 kph and at times looked our most threatening bowler. Keep in mind this is his first test series in the subcontinent, he will be an even better prospect on Australian pitches. There is the prospect of 2 decent all rounders in Watson and Symonds. Australia may only need to pick 2 pace bowlers out of Lee, Johnson, Clark, Tait, Siddle etc. With Haddin coming in at no 8 that is an awfully long batting line up. In summary, with a threatening spinner and some key players finding form, e.g. Lee, Haddin, Australia could be back in the game.

  • CiMP on November 10, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    Ian Chappell has put it right. More than anything else India needs to improve ground fielding and catching. the second area of concern is batting and bowling consistency - more so the former. The third aspect is the pace of scoring - when Sehwag leaves there is too much of a drop in run rate.

    In none too distant future India will be finding itself where Australia is now - transition pains. That is a real worry. Compared to CA, the BCCI is nowhere in showing vision to build a future. Except their own!

  • Governor on November 10, 2008, 9:38 GMT

    I agree with you Chappelli!!

    India have a well balanced attack that bowls in the right areas to dismiss the batsmen whilst we need to unearth a quality leg spin bowler and genuine fast bowler.

    There is a problem. The Centre of Excellent in Brisbane has not been a successful breeding ground for test cricketers. Since Rod Marsh's departure from the Cricket Academy in 2001, there have been only 3 graduates who have gone on to play at test match level (Shane Watson, Cameron White, Mitchell Johnson) whilst Doug Bollinger and Shaun Marsh have been selected on test tours.

    With the selectors picking a squad of players to attend the COA in Brisbane, does Cricket Australia and the selectors offer the states an incentive to blood the young inductees to play shield cricket for their state?

    Aaron Finch, from Victoria, cannot get a regular shield game for Victoria whilst Moses Henriques and Phillip Hughes can get a regular game for NSW.

    We have a huge problem in Australian cricket.

  • Betting on November 10, 2008, 2:57 GMT

    I really think people are overly excited about Krejza and the returns he got from his first Test. But isn't that the point ... overly excited? I'm Australian and extremely happy to see a spinner get a fine debut, but it's only one game. If careers were decided on their first game, Bob Massie and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan (he was the guy, along with Qadir that got me interested in legspin bowling) as well as quite a few others would have had very lengthy and successful ones.

  • avatar_death on November 10, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    I believe Ponting is seriously suffering from the retirements of Warne,Gilchrist etc one wonders how much kudos belongs to him and how much to these guys. The 4th day last session was headless chicken stuff. Over rates are cont a problem therefore a team that is supposedly so well prepared should also have the 'hurry it up' scenario down pat. Question? Whats the overrate when Clarke captained games. Is the answer a new captain even though it goes against the Aussie ethos to change captains. Never for a moment did i believe that the Aussies could win against a balanced looking India - especially with bad luck stalking them the whole tour - but that's not the point, the on field displays have lacked any direction. Australia still has a great team and the likes of Noffke, Hilfenhaus et al must be wondering what's going on. To me also the selectors need a shakeup - they have really bemused all. Hilditch failed at intl level because he couldn't stop hooking, this type of character flaw does not bode well

  • Nampally on November 10, 2008, 0:27 GMT

    India has a well balanced team as Ian rightly pointed out. Sehwag and Gambhir are the best openers whilst Dhoni is the best WK/batsman in the world today. Ishant and Zaheer provide the pace whildt Harbhajan, Chawla, Mishra and Ojha provide the spin attack. The middle order has Sachin, Laxman, Raina, Rohit, Yuvraj and M.Vijay with several backups. Inclusion of Fab 4 and Kumble had weakened the Indian fielding. With Raina, Rohit, Vijay and Yuvraj the fielding will improve significantly. This presents a strong line up. On the other hand the present Australian team is in the process of rebuilding. Lee and Haydon appear to be on the way out. Although Krejza got 12 wickets in his debut, they came at a huge cost - nearly 350 runs. Australia need an opening batsman & bowler to replace Haydon & Lee.In addition a good WK & spin bowling is needed. Ponting, Hussey and Clarke are good to fill the middle order. Symmonds was badly missed. Currently the Indian team is stronger than Australian team.

  • Kreacher_Rocks on November 9, 2008, 22:00 GMT

    To people complaining that Australia has been "forced" to use the SG ball - get a life. Whenever Australia plays the Ashes in England, Duke balls have to be used. I don't see people complaining then, particularly since Duke and SG have similar behaviour when it comes to the seam. The Kookaburra balls are notoriously poor for swinging, particularly when compared to the Dukes. SG falls midway between these for swing and is best suited for spin. It is just that the Aussie bowlers have been very inept with getting the ball to swing. Spinners like Krejza have had better luck with spinning, quite obviously.

  • sifter132 on November 9, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    smale25 - the difference is that Australia bowls slowly ALL the time. India bowls slowly only as a tactic. That doesn't make either side right though, cricket in general needs an over rate shake up.

    And Chaps talking about an all-rounder here is crap. Australia didn't have an all-rounder in the late 90s early 00s - their most dominant period. It certainly wasn't Steve Waugh, he barely bowled in that time and the Andrew Symonds experiment was long away. It was only after seeing Flintoff's value in 2005 that the selectors looked for an all-rounder. They went for Watson first, who promptly was injured, then they reached for Symonds. I would argue Australia has been a worse team since they started trying to play an allrounder since 2005. Before that it was the 6 specialist batsmen - Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Waugh bros, Martyn with 4 specialist bowlers Warne, MrGrath, Gillespie, Lee. That was a great side with Gilly at #7 - he was the only all-rounder we needed.

  • Bobby_Talyarkhan on November 9, 2008, 20:28 GMT

    A balanced, sober and realistic appraisal of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two sides. Ian is once again spot on - almost surgical as he probes the weak spots of the teams, detecting robust and healthy tissue in some instances and areas requiring further rehabillitation and recovery in others. Most appropriately as the series draws to a close, Ian offers a retrospective on the history of the rivalry between the two sides and where that rivalry stands today and how it might evolve in future.

    A stimulating and refreshing perspective on a saga by one of its central participants, for this is the same Ian Chappell who came to India in 1967 and wowed the watching multitudes with the twinkling footwork with which he mastered the wiles of Prasanna and Bedi. One of the true regrets for cricket fans of my generation was not being able to see Wadekar's "Invincibles" - fresh from their series wins in the Carribean and England - measure up to Chappelli's world conquering outfit.

  • jayded on November 9, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    I dont see such a dire need for an all rounder simply because we have an extra batsman in the form of MS Dhoni. Another thing to keep in mind is, in the near past, (or may I dare to say even upto a year ago) our tail has been wagging a lot. Enough to say that they are fairly dependable to come up with atleast 60-70 runs.. (enough to cover up the lack of having an all rounder)

    But again.. this is only my personal opinion. Nothing like it if we could get another Kapil Dev.. but hey.. these guys come once in a century!

  • smale25 on November 9, 2008, 16:53 GMT

    Ian Chappell has been misrepresenting the events of a test match once again. On his Match Analysis radio program titled 'Lawmakers must think about one-sided fields', (3rd day, 4th test India-Australia series), he said that the Indians were using slow-over rate as a tactic to unsettle the opposition. The daily overs for this test are: 1st day, 87 overs bowled by Australia; 2nd day, 37.5 overs bowled by Australia and 49 overs bowled by India for a daily total of 86.5 overs; 3rd day, 85.5 overs bowled by India and 1 over bowled by Australia for a daily total of 86.5 overs; 4th day, 81.4 overs bowled by Australia and 1.3 overs bowled by India for a daily total of 83.1 overs.

    The above statistics show that the over rate has been 87, 86.5 and 86.5 for the first three days and 83.1 on the 4th day when Australia was bowling for all but the last 1.3 overs.

  • patia on November 9, 2008, 15:29 GMT

    Cricket is all about strategy which Australia forgot to implement.Lots of Australian player said many useless comments.The main bowler called Lee picked up 5 wickets in four matches!! Australia can never win a match with an attack like this.Australian greats are having a pace-bowler foundation in India and India has a dozen of quality opening bowler where as bowler like Clark and Johnson who pick up on an average two wickets per test match have no replacement.The wicket keeper has to be changed.The only positive out come of this tour for Australia is the discovery of two spinners who if properly groomed under Bedi may be match winners.

  • johnyamit on November 9, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    It was very sad to see a much waned australian cricket team in india this time around. today, on the 4th day of 4th test match, after getting 6 wickets post lunch and before tea, ponting didnt go for the kill. australians used to go for the kill and suffocate the opposition to death the moment they smelled blood. but not anymore. the kind of zeal that was seen in australian team on their home grounds early this year when india toured australia is clearly missing.

  • venkatSan on November 9, 2008, 14:34 GMT

    This is a nice and crisp one from Ian. However, the need of the hour, for India, is to find an immediate suitable replacement for Ganguly and may be in a little while for Dravid. In addition, India must be willing to have a couple of journeyman bat along, to experience the dressing room and to groom themselves psychologically and for the experience of it. So, the question of finding a "quality" allround is closed for the moment. For that matter no team in the world has an allrounder, at the moment to say the least, who is making a notable performance. As for the strength of the aussie test team, any other captian would have led the team much much better than Ricky ponting, as Ponting is no great with no suprement talent at his disposal. Give this team to Fleming or Azhar or Ganguly the aussies might have been 2-0 up in the series. If for any reasons the series is tied 1-1, only the Indians are to be blamed for such result and not the brilliance/performance of the aussies.

  • Marcio on November 9, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    Australia's bowling will be a problem, but they are far from washed up. The toss has played a crucial role in this series - it has been shown that the team winning the toss on these wickets has almost no chance of losing, and can dictate the game. If Australia had won three of the tosses the result would have been reversed, I predict. It would then have probably have been Australia calling the shots and India being forced to create options, under pressure.

    Tomorrow will be the same old same old, Australia trying to force something from an impossible position, in the worst of the conditions, and with the same result.

  • bobagorof on November 9, 2008, 13:17 GMT

    A true allrounder (who justifies their place both batting and bowling) is extremely rare and is not a necessity to be a great team - they're a bonus. Two specialists who each do their job well are better than using guys who do half & half and trying to make them into something they're not. The important thing is to have a balanced quartet of bowlers. If they are all in-form, the team doesn't need a fifth bowler (part-timers can have a trundle to give the main bowlers a rest if need be). Australia has a few good pace bowlers waiting in the wings, but the slow bowling stocks are a little thin. Krejza's had a good match but his domestic record so far doesn't suggest a long career in Tests - hopefully he'll prove me wrong. Finally Ponting's captaincy is being exposed for the unimaginative tripe it is. And I'm not surprised he put his own welfare above going for the team win. India has done very well this series and they will be hoping to replicate their success abroad over the coming years

  • Sprewell on November 9, 2008, 13:05 GMT

    The end of an era does not happen as a result of losing 1-0 series (with one test yet to be decided) in India. Yes a few great players have retired, but i have faith in Australias domestic competition to provide adequate replacements. I do have a problem though with the selectors decisions. Peter Siddle, Cameron White to start. Probably neither deserved a debut without much form/games in Shefield Shield comp. Mitchell Johnson has been very ordinary, just look back at the previous series vs WI. Bollinger hasnt played? Then there's Hilfenhaus, Noffke and even Bracken who could have possibly played. Batting has depth with Marsh, Hodge, Rogers and D.Hussey all waiting. Spin is the issue, but Krejza has come out of nowhere. So save the end of era calls until its been a good 6-12 months of defeats etc. As for India, beat teams consistently outside your own country before claiming the #1 mantle. South Africa definately are a better side and should provide a good contest for Australia next.

  • popcorn on November 9, 2008, 12:36 GMT

    Typical of you,Ian,to press the panic button.You did not win in India, but are quick to blame Ricky Ponting - forgetting that Bryce Mcgain, the first choice spinner had to go back,Brett Lee has been sick, Stuart Clark had an elbow injury,and Australia has been forced to use the SG ball in India which has a different seam than the Kookaburra ball used the world over.It took Australia 35 years after Bill Lawry's team to win in a series in India.In those 35 years, the teams who toured India were captained by Allan Border,Mark Taylor,Steve Waugh-all with players like Glenn McGrath,Shane Warne-but could not win. So were they useless captains? You forget that Ricky Ponting HAS THE BEST WIN TO LOSS RATIO amongst the Aussie captains-and that includes YOU.Australia have a GOOD Team with Jason Krejza,Beau Casson,Bryce McGain in the spin department,Brett Lee,Stuart Clark,Mitchell Johnson,Shane Watson in the fast bowling department,Simon Katich,Phil Jacques in the opening department after Haydos.

  • josh21 on November 9, 2008, 12:16 GMT

    The Australian selectors are to blame and if nothing is done the rest of the teams will catch up quickly. Ben Hilfenhaus and Nathan Bracken should have been selected for this tour. Mitchell Johnson must be the luckiest player in the world he continues to get lucky wickets from batsman mistakes he doesnt have the variety to dominate domestic cricket let alone test cricket. Hilfenhaus is a very promising player and should be rushed in as soon as possible (genuine swing bowler).

  • luey14 on November 9, 2008, 12:13 GMT

    Has Ian Chappell forgotten about Irfan pathan??? who i think is better than shane watson. They will probably have to play him overseas when the pitches are suited to pace bowling. Since he can swing the ball i believe there attack would be perfectly balanced.

  • Mahesh_AV on November 9, 2008, 12:04 GMT

    I agree with the post of Hazzak. We don't necessarily need an all rounder as long as we have bowlers who can bat a bit, like Harbhajan and Zaheer, and batsmen who can bowl a bit, like Sehwag and Tendulkar. I agree that the fielding certainly needs to support the good batting and bowling performances, but there is really no need to make an extra effort to find an all rounder.

  • futurecaptainofindia on November 9, 2008, 11:28 GMT

    Why is he making such a big deal out of the absence of a perfect all-rounder? Other than Gilchrist, I don't think that OZ at their peak had any all-rounders either even considering that M.Waugh could turn his arm over, while Warne, Lee & Dizzie could hold their own with the bat.

    India, at the minute, is clearly a team in transition with the retirements of Anil Kumble & Ganguly, and the imminent departure of Dravid. However Sehwag is a handy part-timer & Harbhajan is no mug with the bat either. Dhoni, as someone rightly pointed out, is India's answer to Gilchrist. After all, in the longest format of the game, the focus ought to be on specialist skills. A Pollock, Kallis, Klusener, Imran, Kapil can definitely come in handy in-case one of the specialists in either department has an off-day. But if most things fall in place, the team should perform well

  • Dipz-CricketWorld on November 9, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    India have been impressive this series and maybe should have won the series by a bigger margin which would have been very much deserved. India seem to have found a very balanced attack which is allowing them to compete, India seem to have found enough spin options with Kumble retirements as well in the batting. But getting the right batsmen in the right positions will be even harder and will probably require a trial and error process. I think Dhoni is the perfect captain to take India through this change he has the pefect temperment, cricket brain and not afraid to make changes when required whatever others may say rightly or wrongly. I can probably see Tendulkar being the last one of the greats to retire allowing Dhoni to use his experience and Tendulkar will be wanting to retire leaving India in the best position possible which will be number one in the world

  • maven on November 9, 2008, 11:12 GMT

    1. Yuvaraj Singh is knocking!! Dont forget him. 2. If Aussies dont unearth quality in next 6-7 months, then with Hayden ageing I see Australian domination ending. If Ponting retires at such a stage I doubt Clarke can do what Ponting continued after Waugh!

  • sidor911 on November 9, 2008, 10:54 GMT

    I feel that India and Australia are at par. Australia's batting will remain strong and they will remain competitive but their bowling attack will not be able to dominate the way they have done over the past 10 years. The Indians need to blood in younger batsmen into the side and Ganguly's retirement gives them the perfect opportunity. However, India's fielding will remain a cause of concern.

  • Hazzak on November 9, 2008, 8:32 GMT

    I agree with most of that, however am a little curious as to why India necessarily need an allrounder. Australia didn't seem to need one to be so dominant. Sure, they had Gilchrist and a couple of bowlers who could do their bit at no 8 and 9, but no genuine allrounders. India now have Dhoni who is just as capable as Gilchrist with the bat and as ls long as there are a couple of guys who can hang around and score a few after him, then there's no need to have an allrounder. If one comes along, then that would be a bonus for them, but as long as the team as a whole is balanced, then it's not necessary. England did themselves no favours with their decade long search for the next "Botham" that brought a whole lot of bits and pieces players into their team who had no business playing at that level. India - and indeed no other team, should make that same mistake.

  • Tumo on November 9, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    good article ian, i was starting to thik the same. india have some very talented youngsters coming through, and some guys that have been around for a while and deserve the chance. hopefully, with sourav's retirement and aybe some of the other guys passing, the youngsters will really get a chance to show what they can do. on the allrounder front, the pathans don't shape up too badly as allrounders, but i see what you mean.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on November 9, 2008, 8:14 GMT

    I was depressed by Australia's performance in the current series. I expected the series to be hard fought, or better fought. I have heard that in the opinion of many, Ricky Ponting is one of the all time great captains. But, I believe, Allan Border would have done better as captain with the present team. There is no denying Ricky Ponting's fighting capabilities. Perhaps, stalwarts like Warne and McGrath, when they are retired, give their former captains a bad headache. I feel bad, that India will not be the number one team in the world, when Ganguly and Dravid, and Kumble are playing. India's batting bench strength looks good. We have Raina, Badrinath, Kaif, the present captain of Mumbai, and, I am sure, quite a few others, who can perform admirably in the future. All credit to the B C C I for doing their bit, which has given hope to the careers of many young cricketers

  • AsGoodAsItGets on November 9, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    With all due respect Ian, I don't think Australia will hold on to their number 1 slot for too long, unless they find new talent and rebuild their team. Their current bowling attack lacked venom both in the pace and spin quarters. Their batting has been below par with a bit of individual brilliance. I would say the South African team and Indian team are looking a much better outfit on current form. With a resurgent English team it looks like there is a lot of competition for the top spot. It is good to see that cricket is no longer unipolar and we are having other teams improving their games to out do the Aussies. One thing is for sure I think the Aussie supremacy and dominance of the sport has finally come to an end.

  • Adhil.mothie on November 9, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    I think Ian Chappell has hit the nail on the head,the aussie bowling isnt as good as it was espically with Lee not firing,but they missed a trick in India,a quality spinner.their batting looks 50-90 runs short for me,without Langer & Gilli,but they will hit back when they return home for the 2 test series against us(nz) where their problems will disappear,if our woeful batting remains.if not than,they should toughen up for SAF.

  • TheDoctor394 on November 9, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    While an allrounder would be good, a team doesn't necessarily need one to be great, as Australia has shown over its recent years of dominance. They have been the best side in the world without a world class allrounder (they've had Adam Gilchrist, but I'm referring to batting/bowling allrounders); indeed, they really haven't had one since Keith Miller. So, while India would love to have another Kapil Dev in their side, they can still become great without one.

  • risky_jatt on November 9, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    i rekon the aussie domination era is long gone.india is a new super nation in cricket n r the best playing team atm. cricket in india has taken a new turn since the IPL. a lot of young talent was seen in the recent IPL. its good to see tht the future of india is still strong even after the loss of the fantastic 5. but 1 thing is fohsure tht it will b sad seeing them leave one by one. kumbles already gone n ganguly has 2 more days left. such elegant players to watch n its all finished. i still remember the rahul dravid innings here in aus in adelaide(i think, maybe sydney not sure)how he smashed 240 with laxman to pull india out of trouble at 4/77. but now u look at him n hes just a push over. not the wall anymore. i think he needs a break of a month or too to get his head together or he shud consider retirement. sachin finally hit a 100 after soo long n it was gr8 to see him bat. such legends dnt wlk the earth everyday.it will b a sad gdbye but a new era in indian cricket n domination

  • kooldudee on November 9, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    its an interesting article and its been an engagin series...not as exciting as their previous encounters though.It would be interestin to see how both aus and india perform in other parts of the world.India as we all know are not as dominant elsewhere as they are at home and i dont see them threatenin any other team in their own backyard.Aus with their pace attack would be much more threatenin in countries like eng, SA and NZ and would most probably be victorious.And i still believe they are the no 1 team in the world.India still has some way to go but they are much improved now when travellin overseas because of a much better pace attack.i would rate 1) aus 2)SA 3)Ind 4) Eng 5) SL

  • vjg2011 on November 9, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    "The one major area of concern for the Indian selectors is to find young players who can both bat and field."

    Poor Badrinath...

  • Winfried on November 9, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Perhaps, if India win another couple of series convincingly. Don't forget that England beat Australia in the Ashes a couple years ago, but aren't close to being number one. And just one or two months ago, India lost a series to Sri Lanka. Admittedly, Australia are having a bad series and even might lose this one 2-0, but don't forget that Symmo isn't here. He makes a huge difference. And don't forget their consistency over the past ten years. So, at this point, the answer is no - India and Australia are not at par.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Winfried on November 9, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Perhaps, if India win another couple of series convincingly. Don't forget that England beat Australia in the Ashes a couple years ago, but aren't close to being number one. And just one or two months ago, India lost a series to Sri Lanka. Admittedly, Australia are having a bad series and even might lose this one 2-0, but don't forget that Symmo isn't here. He makes a huge difference. And don't forget their consistency over the past ten years. So, at this point, the answer is no - India and Australia are not at par.

  • vjg2011 on November 9, 2008, 3:27 GMT

    "The one major area of concern for the Indian selectors is to find young players who can both bat and field."

    Poor Badrinath...

  • kooldudee on November 9, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    its an interesting article and its been an engagin series...not as exciting as their previous encounters though.It would be interestin to see how both aus and india perform in other parts of the world.India as we all know are not as dominant elsewhere as they are at home and i dont see them threatenin any other team in their own backyard.Aus with their pace attack would be much more threatenin in countries like eng, SA and NZ and would most probably be victorious.And i still believe they are the no 1 team in the world.India still has some way to go but they are much improved now when travellin overseas because of a much better pace attack.i would rate 1) aus 2)SA 3)Ind 4) Eng 5) SL

  • risky_jatt on November 9, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    i rekon the aussie domination era is long gone.india is a new super nation in cricket n r the best playing team atm. cricket in india has taken a new turn since the IPL. a lot of young talent was seen in the recent IPL. its good to see tht the future of india is still strong even after the loss of the fantastic 5. but 1 thing is fohsure tht it will b sad seeing them leave one by one. kumbles already gone n ganguly has 2 more days left. such elegant players to watch n its all finished. i still remember the rahul dravid innings here in aus in adelaide(i think, maybe sydney not sure)how he smashed 240 with laxman to pull india out of trouble at 4/77. but now u look at him n hes just a push over. not the wall anymore. i think he needs a break of a month or too to get his head together or he shud consider retirement. sachin finally hit a 100 after soo long n it was gr8 to see him bat. such legends dnt wlk the earth everyday.it will b a sad gdbye but a new era in indian cricket n domination

  • TheDoctor394 on November 9, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    While an allrounder would be good, a team doesn't necessarily need one to be great, as Australia has shown over its recent years of dominance. They have been the best side in the world without a world class allrounder (they've had Adam Gilchrist, but I'm referring to batting/bowling allrounders); indeed, they really haven't had one since Keith Miller. So, while India would love to have another Kapil Dev in their side, they can still become great without one.

  • Adhil.mothie on November 9, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    I think Ian Chappell has hit the nail on the head,the aussie bowling isnt as good as it was espically with Lee not firing,but they missed a trick in India,a quality spinner.their batting looks 50-90 runs short for me,without Langer & Gilli,but they will hit back when they return home for the 2 test series against us(nz) where their problems will disappear,if our woeful batting remains.if not than,they should toughen up for SAF.

  • AsGoodAsItGets on November 9, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    With all due respect Ian, I don't think Australia will hold on to their number 1 slot for too long, unless they find new talent and rebuild their team. Their current bowling attack lacked venom both in the pace and spin quarters. Their batting has been below par with a bit of individual brilliance. I would say the South African team and Indian team are looking a much better outfit on current form. With a resurgent English team it looks like there is a lot of competition for the top spot. It is good to see that cricket is no longer unipolar and we are having other teams improving their games to out do the Aussies. One thing is for sure I think the Aussie supremacy and dominance of the sport has finally come to an end.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on November 9, 2008, 8:14 GMT

    I was depressed by Australia's performance in the current series. I expected the series to be hard fought, or better fought. I have heard that in the opinion of many, Ricky Ponting is one of the all time great captains. But, I believe, Allan Border would have done better as captain with the present team. There is no denying Ricky Ponting's fighting capabilities. Perhaps, stalwarts like Warne and McGrath, when they are retired, give their former captains a bad headache. I feel bad, that India will not be the number one team in the world, when Ganguly and Dravid, and Kumble are playing. India's batting bench strength looks good. We have Raina, Badrinath, Kaif, the present captain of Mumbai, and, I am sure, quite a few others, who can perform admirably in the future. All credit to the B C C I for doing their bit, which has given hope to the careers of many young cricketers

  • Tumo on November 9, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    good article ian, i was starting to thik the same. india have some very talented youngsters coming through, and some guys that have been around for a while and deserve the chance. hopefully, with sourav's retirement and aybe some of the other guys passing, the youngsters will really get a chance to show what they can do. on the allrounder front, the pathans don't shape up too badly as allrounders, but i see what you mean.

  • Hazzak on November 9, 2008, 8:32 GMT

    I agree with most of that, however am a little curious as to why India necessarily need an allrounder. Australia didn't seem to need one to be so dominant. Sure, they had Gilchrist and a couple of bowlers who could do their bit at no 8 and 9, but no genuine allrounders. India now have Dhoni who is just as capable as Gilchrist with the bat and as ls long as there are a couple of guys who can hang around and score a few after him, then there's no need to have an allrounder. If one comes along, then that would be a bonus for them, but as long as the team as a whole is balanced, then it's not necessary. England did themselves no favours with their decade long search for the next "Botham" that brought a whole lot of bits and pieces players into their team who had no business playing at that level. India - and indeed no other team, should make that same mistake.