Ian Chappell
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Former Australia captain, now a cricket commentator and columnist

Be bold, India, England and Australia

It's the one piece of advice the administrators could do with as their teams look to improve their success rate in Test cricket

Ian Chappell

December 16, 2012

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar prepare to bowl in the nets, Sydney, January 1, 2011
Panesar and Swann could be the modern Laker and Lock, but for that to happen England need a fast-bowling allrounder to bat at No. 6 or 7 © Getty Images

Over the next few months the fates of Australia, India and England are entwined. India are currently playing England and will then host Australia, who will head to England for the Ashes in July-August 2013. All enticing series, and as the teams stand at the moment, England are on the rise, Australia are treading water and India are regressing. Australia and India are in different stages of a rebuilding process, and with varied reserve stocks.

India have major headaches. They need to begin a revitalisation process with a change of leadership and a fond farewell to a champion batsman. This will take a large dose of selectorial courage, so far as rare in Indian cricket as sightings of the Loch Ness monster.

The big stumbling block to India beginning the renewal process is Sachin Tendulkar. While everyone waits with bated breath to see what he'll do, the team is stagnating. The issue has become "Will he or won't he?" instead of being "Will they or won't they?" What is needed is bold leadership, with the focus on India winning Test matches. It's time to thank Tendulkar for providing a glorious era and then to concentrate on forging a new group of successful players who produce an exciting brand of cricket. India are fortunate that they are not without talent in both batting and spin bowling. Their major concern is bowlers of genuine pace.

Australia, on the other hand, have a plethora of young pace bowlers, but the problem is how to keep those talented quicks on the park. Australia also need to repair a system that used to routinely produce exciting young batsmen but now churns out a production line of ageing (in cricket terms) debutants. Surprisingly, after years of the team basking in the glory of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill, there are now very few wristspin imitators, and an art that Australia once dominated is now as desolate as the country's red centre.

Where Australia were leaders in producing and picking bold young cricketers, there is now a system that replicates the outdated one England appear to have discarded.

The most pressing need for Australia is to get the team, and in particular the batting line-up, settled quickly so they are in good shape by the time the Ashes commences. This will require a selection juggling act of choosing sides to win in the present but to also accommodate future requirements.

England have displayed a boldness that was missing from their cricket for a major part of their lean years. From the time they chose a dashing young Kevin Pietersen for the 2005 Ashes instead of plumping for an ageing stalwart in Graham Thorpe, England have been on the rise. That trend is continuing with the introduction of the determined young Joe Root into a crucial Test match in India.

However, they do have one major problem. They need to unearth a fast-bowling allrounder to occupy the No. 6 or 7 batting spot so they can retain the deadly spin combination of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. This pair has the capacity to be the modern version of Jim Laker and Tony Lock for England, and every stone should be overturned in order to ensure they can work as a pair rather than as single entities. One obvious option is the return of Stuart Broad to full fitness with a stronger focus on his batting.

In the light of their recent selection boldness England may want to take a look at Craig Overton, who played in the recent Under-19 World Cup. One half of a talented pair of twins, Overton bowls at a lively pace, hits the pitch hard and is a top-class slip fielder. Currently his batting lags behind the rest of his game and is well short of Test standard, but given the opportunity he could rise quickly.

There are potentially exciting times ahead for all three teams and their progress will be followed with interest. The most likely ingredient for immediate success will be boldness. Surprisingly it's England who currently lead the way in that regard.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

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Posted by gregjones on (December 19, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

Would like to ask, what is Nathan Lyon doing in the Australian team? It is amazing that Australia do not have a spinner to replace Lyon who has an average first class record let alone his test record. He might be the only spinner in the world today who struggles to pick wickets during the fourth and fifth days of a test match which he has been achieving quite regularly in the last 4 to 5 test matches. Lyon was the main reason why Australia could not win the first 2 test matches against South Africa being the lone spinner, where he could not take wickets in the final days of both matches. If such a spinner cannot be replaced then I suppose that there might not be another spinner playing in the Australian domestic circuit.Look at any other spinner from the other teams in the world. They are a handful on most pitches in the final day whereas Lyon has been so easily negotiated and that too by S.African batsmen who are vulnerable against spin but for some reason he is still in the side.

Posted by ROXSPORT on (December 18, 2012, 19:09 GMT)

India's problems arise because the selectors &/or the captain have obstinately refused to look ahead & try out new players or combinations. With the Windies & the New Zealand series, they had a choice to try out at least 1 or 2 combinations, but they didn't. Result is there for all to see. One obvious solution staring everyone in the face was to move Sehwag down to 6 with Rahane to open. With a cushion of 5-8 test matches, Sehwag could now move to the pivotal No. 4 position with SRT bowing out & Jadeja, Rohit (or my first preference Abhinav Mukund, sadly he has been all but forgotten, when I thought he had shown much pluck & inclination to learn despite his inadequacies) at 6. For wicket-keeping duties, I would prefer Dinesh Karthick or Wridhiman Saha in tests with the captaincy to Gautam Gambhir.

Posted by jimbond on (December 18, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

India- more than the other two needs to go in for total revamp, and testing out of several new players. If they could unearth a few bowlers- and for the time being keep Yadav and Sreesanth fit (with Praveen Kumar and Pathan as backup), they could have a not-so-bad attack.

@Mikey76: I am pretty sure that New Zealand in New Zealand would be a tougher proposition as compared to India, especially if Southee keeps fit. "Comfortable' ashes- again I am not sure, as the Aussies have the better team currently. In fact England's rating looks flattering as it is, because they had the benefit of playing two series with a mediocre Indian side in the past two years (and that too, a side which was rated high at that time- which gave more benefit to the team beating them). I suspect it is Australia which has a chance of further improving its rating with a series against India coming up.

Posted by   on (December 18, 2012, 2:59 GMT)

It's so sad to see Ian Chappell kowtowing to the BCCI - India are little better than minnows in Test cricket now, and don't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as SA, England or even Australia.

Posted by 2nd_Slip on (December 17, 2012, 20:56 GMT)

Its sad to see ENG and AUS fans being trapped in dreamland and being ignorant at the fact that South Africa is miles ahead of them in the test arena. Mr Chappell only until India,Aus and Eng accept that South Africa are now the benchmark, and seek to learn from the Saffas will they improve their inconsistant test performances of late

Posted by Thamara on (December 17, 2012, 17:32 GMT)

In my opinion, Not only India, England and Australia, but almost all the test playing nations are going through transition period after losing their key players during last 3 or 4 years. Countries such as West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and New Zealand are also trying out so many players to replace the places vacated by the retirement of their star players. To be honest, England have solved almost all the problems that they had before and they are making all the things viewed as impossible by past England teams possible. They won an ashes in Australia and won a test series in India. They couldn't have done more. India and Australia certainly have so many adjustments to be made in order to get their cricket back on track. (India were never on the right track anyway). But Australia have found wonderful young fast bowlers like Starc, Pattingson, Cummings to go with slightly experienced Peter Siddle and Micthel Johnson. They will put together a deadly fast-bowling attack very soon.

Posted by mikey76 on (December 17, 2012, 15:52 GMT)

With 5 tests against NZ coming up and then no doubt a comfortable ashes win at home this summer, England will be snapping at South Africa's heels for the number one slot. In that time it will be very hard to see both spinners playing together, Ben Stokes looks the most likely genuine all rounder but he is still a couple of years away from being ready. Stuart Broad simply is not consistent enough with the bat yet and he's probably going to be on a sabbatical to address his poor form. Finn, Onions and Anderson will most likely be our first choice seam attack for the next six months or so with Meaker and Roland-Jones waiting in the wings.

Posted by Wharfeseamer on (December 17, 2012, 13:14 GMT)

Have SRT apologists considered that those of us wishing he would retire is because watching one of the all time greats look so poor in recent times is just so painful and sad to watch. Whilst he is Indian he belongs to the whole cricket world and some of us don't want his reputation to be tarnished. He's nearly 40 .... he isn't going to return to anywhere near any level of form that will take India forward and he needs to move aside to allow a young player to gain experience. Let's be honest he isn't contributing more than an inexperienced player might bring anyway

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

It must be hard to retire when you have no obvious replacement knocking at the door. Pointing was in that situation, but eventually accepted he had no choice. Where as someone like Nasser Hussain had Andrew Strauss ready to take his place, Steve Waugh had a queue of batsmen, Paul Collingwood had a number of players biting at his heels.

Is the reluctance to retire of senior players also indicative of a lack of new players coming through?

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 12:04 GMT)

Mirror Mirror on the wall, who's the worst columnist in the world.. IAN CHAPPELL

Posted by Bilal_Choudry on (December 17, 2012, 11:58 GMT)

I think the key here is the balance .... that is why england is doing as well as they are ... india needs to find and back a couple of quicks for a season or two and protect them too (read IPL) ... indian batting has a lot of bench strength and should be fine in the post tendulkar era ... the biggest loss to india is the spinners .. part of the blame goes to IPL .... australia is in deeper trouble .. there batting has looked very weak and after hussey it will look like a pakistani batting lineup ... not sure if watson has what it takes to support clarke

Posted by itsthewayuplay on (December 17, 2012, 11:57 GMT)

Mr Chappell, have you learnt nothing about Indian cricket from your brother who was their coach for a while. Tendulkar is only one of several stumbling blocks. Against England, our spinners have been outspun, pacers outpaced, batters outbatted. The effects of the IPL is now impacting the next generation of Indian test players. In fact, the best players in the IPL have been the overseas players with India not even reaching the finals of the ICC in favourable conditions in SL a few months ago. These 3 teams are intertwined only to the extent that they have been and will be playing each other over a relatively short period of time but India's fate is all of its own making. England, Australia and SA are the top 3 test teams now. India are already in the bottom 3.

Posted by Selassie-I on (December 17, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

Exciting times ahead, I honestly don't think there is too much between SA, England and Aus are not too far behind at the moment, althogh have some serious issues with soe of their batting line up, hussey won't last too long now and when he goes they will only really have 1 world class batsman.

I'm not too sure about England playing Swann & Monty in all conditions, especialy Australia and early season England. However if we were to look for an allrounder perhaps Woakes should be the choice, Broad needs to focus on his bowing at the moment, he can be a world class bowler, don't confuse him by asking him to go and work on his batting when it's his bowling we really want. Woakes is more of a genuine all-rounder. If anyone Swann looks much better at the crease, a good clean hitter of the ball.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 11:19 GMT)

@safwan: India too won test matches in SouthAfrica,at Perth in Australia,at trent bridge and NZ so saying that India became No1 by only winning at home is an ill-researched statement. The problem is with the batting which has lost all focus in the last 18 months.I think less said about the test matches of 2010 held in England the better.

Posted by safwan_Umair on (December 17, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

mentioning India alongside Australia, England and South Africa is an absolute travesty! India's number one test status owed largely to a plethora of home test matches played on tailor made spinning wickets. Their is nothing wrong with playing to your strengths at home, but a top quality test side should have the capability of winning at will abroad as well. Like the Aussies under Steve Waugh or the Windies under Llyod and Richards, Pakistan under Imran Khan and the current South African side. Losing 8-0 away to australia and england was as abysmal as it gets, even a controversy battered Pakistani side won two test matches against Australia and England in the English summer of 2010!

Posted by electric_loco_WAP4 on (December 17, 2012, 10:45 GMT)

For the moment the South Affers are rightly the no.1 team. Very closely followed by the Aussies. Ind has a long streak of defeats lurking in Tests and with its current state should be no surprise. Eng mostly mediocre as SA showed them at home and the spate of subcontinental disasters- never mind a scratchy series win vs a declining Ind team- the only challenge for the Aus and SA teams are between themselves and the their last series was tight with SA coming tops after a scrap . And with the huge gap in class between these 2 and the rest of test teams the results in back to back Ashes is as good a foregone conclusion - Eng will do well to draw 1 of 10 tests let alone win a test-Aus should easy whitewash Eng in both series - likely that Eng will escape with draw in 1 test in the series in the U.K saved by the weather but will be blanked 5-0 in the series Down Under....

Posted by Avid.Cricket.Watcher on (December 17, 2012, 8:51 GMT)

I have lost more and more respect for Chappell over the last 5 years. Continually having a go at Tendulkar (without commensurately acknowledging his immense contributions with the bat between 2007 and 2011), while ignoring all other problems India have had in the last 18 months (from the openers to the captaincy to the fitness to the bowlers to the coach, etc. etc.) is just incredibly one-eyed and petty. Someone at Cricinfo, please show this columnist a mirror.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Debacles in recent test serieses and one and half year sliding down of Indian Test team is due to the BCCI's Ranji policies. Bowlers we get from Ranji tournaments are not at all upto mark even though they invariably gets plenty of wickets. BCCI should adopt a policy to open its own windows for Ranji to be arranged in between Test serieses and all the test & 'A' players should play at least 5 Ranji maches (mandatory) to give a real test of the upcomming batsman and bowlers. The pitch arround the country should be at par a Test pitch, that should suit pace and spin both.

Yeaster years, even many of the Ranji semifinals and finals were having similar status of a Teast, when Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil nadu, Haryana played among them selves. Now a days all the teams playing are having the non-probables players!

Posted by Meety on (December 17, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Interesting thoughts, but the timelines & rationale for where sides sit is a little perplexing. I would imagine if a side is currently copping a 10-1 hiding from leading sides, that ANY performance (i.e England v India) - needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Yep England have been very good (maybe should be read as Cook), I knew England were good enuff to take a test off India, but India have also been pretty lame. So the part where IC says India have regressed is obvious to anyone NOT associated with the BCCI. As for England "progressing" - it's a bit odd that IC uses KP's selection as a turning point for England. As in this year England have sufferred lost series to Pakistan & Sth Africa, both series were significant in the extent of the loss - yet based on a probable 2-1 away victory over India are on the way up? Overton? If they select him - we'll just have to select Travis Head & the others that played him pretty well in the U19s W/Cup!

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 17, 2012, 3:33 GMT)

@Ian Chappell... Perhaps you should have been giving your advice to CA 5 years ago, as the selectors have been poorly selecting & dropping a large number of players in that time... The selectors have also been using the ODI team as a warming area for possible Test candidates (e.g. Forrest) to the detriment of both teams performances - the WI's tour & Eng ODI series were compromised by the lack of full strength squads being selected, with the results showing our lack of preparation for these games...

Posted by Jojygeorge on (December 17, 2012, 3:28 GMT)

Mr.Chappell, please look into the mirror and retire from being a commentator and columnist.....you keep contradicting yourself over many columns in the past one year!! Folks, let's get some fresh and unbiased comments on the current cricketing scenario.

Posted by Dhanno on (December 17, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

Mr Chappell, Have you been watching any cricket lately ? I agree on your list, England is on rise (or atleast bit more settled team than Aus) and india in utter decline. But where did you see this exciting world class spinners in indian ranks ?? Indian bowling cupboard is empty, period. Not spin/ not pace just bowlers in general. Secondly, although sachin's retirement is overdue (and I can see you have dedicated an article and quarter to address it), he isnt the only problem we have. The problem is batting line-up authorised by IPL gurus: Gambhir/ Sehwag/ Yuvi/ Dhoni/ Raina should not be allowed anywhere close to indian whites again. Same goes to Zaheer/ Bhajan. Get people who want to give their sweat and blood for team (they could be talentless for all i care) not guys who consider test cricket as an annoying ritual between T20s. I do believe that such change is not happening and the indian team will only slide further but the reasons are deep-rooted than one fella.

Posted by sawifan on (December 17, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@Safalicious... wile i agree that SAF are deserving #1's, i think calling them legendary is a bit much. Very good, sure, legendary, still a way to go i think. Dont forget, this SAF team recently lost a test against SRL at home, and drew their last test series v AUS at home too. And this last series against AUS was 1-0 in a 3 test series. SAF, very good team, and deservedly #1, but i'm afraid they have a long way to go before being recognised as legendary.

Posted by   on (December 17, 2012, 1:33 GMT)

England's domination in India was better than SA's in Aus. It's going to be close between SA and Eng, but I feel England will be more consistent as no.1. India and Lanka on rapid Test decline. Both toothless bowling attacks overseas (and at home against quality opposition). Worse yet for India, they lack the fighting spirit. Sachin has got to go to or his reputation as a cricketer worldwide will continue to go downhill.

Posted by Stuart_Watson on (December 17, 2012, 1:31 GMT)

Craig Overton? Really? No, not really. I'm sure he's a talented young player, but he hasn't even been part of the EPP squad and he has about as much chance of playing for England over the next twelve months as Saj Mahmood and Liam Plunkett have of making a comeback. I have no doubt that England will return to their three-quicks-plus-Swann strategy for the two Ashes series, only utilising Panesar if there appears to be a raging turner in prospect. Few sides play two spinners in England or Australia and they are almost invariably right not to do so. The best thing about Panesar's re-emergence (outside the subcontinent) is that England have a confident and in-form replacement for Swann in the event of injury.

Posted by Clive_Dunn on (December 16, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

England will never choose to play 2 spinners at home, with the possible exception of Cardiff and the Oval.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 23:43 GMT)

chappelli .....mate please leave sachin alone...u keep rubbing salt to the wound with each of his failures..everyone knows he is playing prolly in his last international year....we always knew lara was ur favorite over sachin even during his pomp..well ur choice seems to be vindicated with each passing day as sachin fails more and more and makes a mockery of himself and his stature in the game...m sure u must be grinning from inside.....mate...u dont hesitate to take the mickey out of him ever do you...in your own words matey...nobody is "putting a gun to your head" and asking you to keep writing articles denigrating the great man...albeit hes well past his prime...respect....

Posted by waqtpk on (December 16, 2012, 23:42 GMT)

No one else, but only Tendulkar can decide when he wants to retire from international cricket. He has earned this right over the years. However, he should use this right before he loose it.

Posted by here2rock on (December 16, 2012, 23:26 GMT)

I don't why people are saying that "Ian Chappel is the most biased person in cricket". In my opinion he is the most unbiased and intelligent commentator on the game of Cricket. Reading all his articles and listening to him on Channel 9 commentary team you realise why he was such a great captain. I wish he was an Administrator for Indian cricket then they would not be in such a situation as they find themselves now. Australia and England have options and all skills of the game covered (batting, pace, fielding and spint) where India as always look to build their team on batting culture. India will find it hard to compete on foreign grounds where pace is required. Their spin options are not great either. They have continued to pursue with Ravichandran Ashwin who is a better batsman than a bowler. Indian cricket is more than making bold decisions though, there is politics, power and money involved. It is not all about making decisions for the good of the team.

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 16, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

LOL at all the Pak fans, esp the eternally biased "getsetgopk". It really hurts them to read of even an iota of praise for India for they are so badly starved of any attention. I'll be polite when I say that it's amusing to read of a Pak fan lecturing the Indian nation on ethics and morality.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 21:21 GMT)

I personally feel England and SA are the only genuine test powers. Australia will continue to sit at 3rd for some time. The rest of the world (mainly Asian teams) will be mediocre thanks to the emphasis on T20 cricket. India will be the biggest culprit among them. It's sad but only 3 teams will continue to make test cricket look genuine. India should not even be spoken of in the same league as England and SA. They used to be good but not any more. The IPL, and other T20 leagues have buried the hatchet so deep into the standards of test cricket that it's difficult to hope for a miraculous recovery. As with Indian cricket, I already signed the obituary sheet and attended the funeral following the 8-0 whitewash in 2011.

Posted by Rajdev on (December 16, 2012, 20:55 GMT)

AvidCricFan: I agree with you 110%. Rajan

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (December 16, 2012, 19:37 GMT)

@Advin: "Take away Ajmal and they would not beat Bangladesh" Do you honestly believe this rubbish. Come back to me when Bangladesh have even 1, just one measly ranking point to their name in Test cricket. Currently, and factually Pak is the best cricket team in the subcontinent. God the delusion of some fans on cricinfo is baffling.

Posted by Josh1942 on (December 16, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

Ian Chappel was a boring cricketer with a chip on each shoulder. As a cricket writer he is boring with a chip on each shoulder. A biased, humourless man who seems to carry grudges. His comments on cricket are always biased with little grace. Why he has earned a good living from spewing his bias and prejudices ia a mystery.

Posted by SDHM on (December 16, 2012, 19:08 GMT)

England do have a young all-rounder waiting in the wings - a man called Chris Woakes. He's only had a chance in T20 & ODI cricket so far, which is not his strong suit. I'd love to see him picked for the NZ tour, especially now Broad & Bresnan look close to spent (or at least in need of a long break and a spell back in county cricket), and the fact he is currently playing domestic cricket in New Zealand makes me think he is definitely in contention. The problem England have in playing Swann & Panesar together is that in theory it sounds excellent, but if we have weather like we have done over the past few summers, conditions are not exactly going to be in their favour. We have a few promising young seamers of our own, no need to start preparing dustbowls.

Posted by UglyIndian on (December 16, 2012, 17:17 GMT)

Last year, before India went to England, Ian Chappell, wrote that he did't forsee India staying as no.1 and pointed a few reasons out. As usual he copped a lot of abuse from the jingoistic Indian populace. What happened after that in England and Australia is history :)

Fast forward, India Vs England 2012. India has won the first Test and Dhoni ups the cockiness by chastening the Ahmedabad curator in public for making such a pitch. And when India were flying high, Greg Chappell came out with an article, which criticized India and Dhoni for their gamesmanship, and shameless attempts to doctor the pitch. He warned India that they might be losing focus from the issues of bat and ball. Again, more abuses from the uncouth Indian public. And what happened? England beat India in 2 pitches doctored for India...and is 1 day away from winning an historic series :)

But i guess, nothing will change.

Posted by SKC412 on (December 16, 2012, 16:43 GMT)

Just great by notgburns..... Agreed we were all wooed to cricket by this genius, but when SRT finally hangs up his boots, there would be an everlasting image of his struggles in his final years which MIGHT just overshadow his tremendous achievements to a degree. My only prayer is that SRT plays atleast one masterclass innings more before he quits whenever that happens, otherwise may God save him....

Posted by getsetgopk on (December 16, 2012, 16:23 GMT)

Is this the same Ian Chapell that couldn't find anything else but to write only on how great Indian batting is and brimming with fresh and new batting talents? His thoughts on the game change with the passing clouds im sure. Where is all that talent? Less than a year ago he was seen passing sermons on how great sehwag is and how quickly he could turn a match on its head. What happened there? India cant hold their own in their own backyard now and has made a mockery of cricket itself by degrading pitches to a quality where its not even fit for test cricket. Why cant he write something meaningful for a change?

Posted by Saim93 on (December 16, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

Ian Chappel is the most biased person in cricket, it is a huge insult to anyone to be considered in the same line as him. Biggest joke there is!

Posted by Last_ride on (December 16, 2012, 14:25 GMT)

In other words just tell South Africa are far superior to these teams and will remain No1 for years to come.Go South Africa........

Posted by AvidCricFan on (December 16, 2012, 13:41 GMT)

I still don't understand some people defending SRT's place in the team. His experience is not rubbing off in a positive manner. India is still losing practically all matches even in his presence. Keep him in the dressing room if his experience can help youngsters. We still have Gambhir, Shewag, Dhoni who have vast test experience. Other argument people make in his favor is his 23 years service to Indian cricket. I would say he has gained more from the Indian cricket than given. His time is up and he needs to go. If he doesn't, BCCI should drop him. The problem is that BCCI is full of crony old boy network. Anyone sticking his neck out gets pushed out.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

great rational article this. again, india in dire straits with quite less of talent. which they will never agree.losing one after another.

Posted by SamRoy on (December 16, 2012, 12:36 GMT)

Mr. Chappell, India also needs a big change in removing all senior players. All of them (Tendulkar, Sehwag, Gambhir, Zaheer, Harbhajan and Yuvraj) are past their sell by date in test matches. Dhoni can play as a wicket-keeper batsman but only in India and certainly not as captain. The youngsters (Kohli, Pujara, Ashwin, Ojha, Umesh Yadav and even Jadeja) are all pretty good at test level. It is high time India tries new faces: for fast bowling Parvinder Awana and Shami Ahmed, for batting Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary and Unmukt Chand.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (December 16, 2012, 11:50 GMT)

Every columnist is focused on Sachin as if he is the only one who is Not performing and everybody else is playing good but the reality is that Sachin is only one who is getting media attention and feeling heat and give a chance to other players without any so called high pressure...but to India's unfortunate nobody else is playing and since India doesn't got any firm replacements of Rahul/Laxman/Ganguly Sachin is the only experienced batsman left in the Indian line up who can act as a mentor also so even though he scores in 20-30s he should continue AT LEAST untill Soth African Tour and till than India should rebuild the momentum and confidence....

Posted by Advin on (December 16, 2012, 11:33 GMT)

Sharjeel Khan , I am a well wisher of Pakistan cricket but it must be said they have never looked weaker in the 30 odd years I have been following them.Ajmal is clearly papering the weakness of the team.In the past,Pakistan always had exciting pacemen but now they are sticking to the ageing and increasingly ineffective Gul and Tanvir.The batting is extremely poor with both Younis and Misbah at the fag end of their careers.The fielding is weak too and there is no settled keeper.Pl do not read too much into the thrashing of England last year,that was purely Ajmal inspired on helpful tracks.Take away Ajmal and they would not beat Bangladesh

Posted by Safalicious on (December 16, 2012, 11:22 GMT)

Interesting how this article tacitly acknowledges that these are the 3 teams vying for 2nd place honours while SA are really leading by some distance. I think in years to come we will only begin to appreciate that the current SA team will be one of the legendry teams. The SA team record stacks up rather favourably against all comers, especially given the propensity for home games to be weather affected.

As far as these 3 teams go, I would venture to say that Australia are looking quite strong at present and I would not bet against them for the Ashes. England are too easily found out by a truely world class attack while the Aussies fared much better. On the balance, Australia have the better bowling lineup while there is little to pick between the batting lineups. As far as India go, they can consider themselves lucky to be part of this article and will soon be competing with Sri Lanka and Pakistan for 4-6th spots (and I would back Sri Lanka)

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

i am also thinking that chappel has become more biased to the asian countries . He just think india is of the caliber to match south africa england and australia . He should have considered talking about Pakistan too . I am advising him that he should take some time off and look into test record of my team . He ma then consider it worth discussing . A disappointed pakistani fan .

Posted by notgburns on (December 16, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

@ sjuyal - yup, you're right, it must be that. I mean everything Chappell wrote about Tendulkar is absolute rubbish. He shouldn't time his retirement at all. Rather he should stick with it, eventually he'll get back to his usual form and start hitting those centuries, and India should wait for him to find it. After all he has done for Indian cricket, surely he deserves a few years to find his form again, and if India lose 15-20 tests in the meantime it's worth it.

Posted by Abdullah1991 on (December 16, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

I don't think Tendulkar is the speed breaker in India's success. Or Bresnan is going to cost Eng a lose. When Imran Tahir was costly in 2nd Test of SA vs Aus, Smith & Amla played brilliantly and gone to save the match. If 1 person is not performing that doesn't mean u r going to loose. Its a complete team effort. But u can say 1 person's performance can win a match like Saeed Ajmal in Pak Eng Test series.

Posted by stormy16 on (December 16, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

I think Eng are the best placed to take SA while Aus will be a worthy opponent they still need to sort out their top order and replacement for Hussey. None of the younger batters have really put up their hand. Aus bowling stocks are healthy at this stage. India have already come up with genuine class acts in the batting order in Kholi and Pujara with pleny of others in the wiating. India also have some classy spinner but their inability to knock over Eng would be a concern. I reckon Sachin will retire at the end of the Aus tour, I dont see hom taking on another overseas tour give his recent struggles.

Posted by here2rock on (December 16, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

I agree with Ian Chappell again, Tendulkar is blocking India's progress as a Cricket team. Indian cricket team is plagued with politics, living in the past glories and lack of leadership. If this trend continues there will be only 3 national teams playing the standards at level at which Test Cricket should be played, South Africa, Australia and England. The Asian countries will struggle to maintain interest in Test Cricket because there are no plans for the longer part of the game and money generated by the shorter form of the game.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 16, 2012, 8:53 GMT)

India need to move forward....sachin dragging india down like dead weight. And BCCI and selectors are afraid to touch him even if they lose as many games. Sachin hijacking indian team for his selfish reasons.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

i think england has the strongest line up across the whole 11. prior is particularly handy at 7. saf though has a GIANT batting line up, and their quicks just edge englands. england however has 2 very good spinners. on paper they are both miles ahead of aus and ind. aus has been punching above their weight for a while. they rely too heavily on clarke and hussey.

as a saf fan, du plessis was a god send. he looks a brilliant test player (from relative obscurity). at full fitness: smith, petersen, amla, kallis, de villiers, du plessis, duminy, peterson, philander, steyn, morkel (12th man de lange)

that is an outrageously good side. could use a better spinner admittedly!

Posted by sjuyal on (December 16, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

i am pretty sure Chappell dislikes Tendulkar to the point of hating him.For years now i have read/heard him obsessing over tendulkar's reirement with different reasons

Just 2 weekks back he said tendulkar must time his retirement like pointing

Posted by Sir.Ivor on (December 16, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

In terms of batting bowling and fielding skills England seems the best positioned really to get back to No1. What is more is that they have an enviable bench strength with some good young players waiting in the wings. India like Australia is in transition. Australia has some good young pace prospects but they seem very prone to injury unlike the Mcgraths and Gillespies, who never got seriously injured.Their batting is fading and there are no names that can measure up with the Pontings and Clarkes.In the position they are, it seems unlikely that they will get the better of England in the Ashes pf 2013.India has some good young batsman like Pujara,Kohli,Rahane and Unmukht who seem quite capable of doing well at the highest level in a couple of seasons.They also have some pretty quick bowlers in Yadav,Aaron,Ishant.They also have some who are good enoughto play at the top like Awana,Dinda,Shami Ahmed,and possibly Bhuvaneshwar and Sharath. So it is only spinners that seem missing at present

Posted by Leggie on (December 16, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

There is a lot more broken with India's cricket than Sachin's dip. Sad to see that the great man has to bear the brunt of the attack from the media and past cricketers.

Posted by nayonika on (December 16, 2012, 7:33 GMT)

Very succintly analysed article,as crisp as his batting was and as forthright as he is in commentary.

Posted by Munkeymomo on (December 16, 2012, 7:16 GMT)

Surprised to hear Craig Overton being mentioned, Jamie outscored him most games I saw them played last season for Somerset, despite batting 11 but hopefully he can develop into a top all-rounder. India have Dinda and Yadav as far as quicks are concerned, they just need to man up and pick them. I'm sure Australia have some new batting superstar around the corner, they dont go long without a top quality side.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 6:11 GMT)

Very succinctly, Ian has pointed out Australia's batting woes.. When was the last time that Aussies batting line-up looked so thin?? That the only 2 world-class Test batsmen came in at 5 & 6?? && Australia will suffer as they did against SA in the recent series.. Despite dominating the 1st 2 tests, they couldn't force a win, & when a true pitch arrived, the batting ineptitude / inexperience showed up.. Of course I ain't taking any credit away from SA, who deserved the series, the way they fought with grittiness.. As per England, I believe the 4-way attack of Jimmy, Finn, Swann & Monty are good enough to take 20 wickets to force wins.. A bowling all-rounder at 6 would weaken their slightly over-rated batting.. Bell & Trott are slightly downhill, Cook & Prior are very good, KP is a legend, but that's it, they need another attacking batsman at 6..

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 5:23 GMT)

Excellent article !! I must say its high time for Indian cricket that the BCCI officials must take decisive decisions for the sake of just reviving cricket in India. Also, Indian players play cricket almost round the clock and that has affected their temperament. Just tie their batsman up for a while and you get them out in a test. In last 11 tests (excluding current one) they have lost 10 which is alarming. On the other hand, Aussies are suffering what WI faced after Walsh, Ambrose and Bishop ... but in a polished manner. They also need to fit places of punter n huss (near future). England are, currently, by far the side that can take on SA any day. No other side in cricketing world has depth in all depts. of game as SA and Eng.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 5:03 GMT)

Very well written Sir. Wish you would elaborate more on your advice for India. Not that they would listen.

Posted by   on (December 16, 2012, 4:11 GMT)

Pretty straight forward as Chappeli always is.Its imperative for Australia to keep 5-6 fast bowlers reserved for test cricket.India can look at Kohli at 4 and Tendulkar at 5,if SRT has no mood to quit.England will be spoilt for choices when the take on Australia.Bresnan at 7,Prior at 6 with Anderson,Broad/Finn and the spin twins is th way to go for starters.They can leave out Monty for particular grounds like Headingly

Posted by maf17 on (December 16, 2012, 3:26 GMT)

I disagree that Australia arent progressing, they are, albeit slowly and painfully. No-one who saw them dominate South Africa in the 1st two Tests of the series could say they havent come a long way since the shell-shocked effort against England in the 2010-11 Ashes. Only inexperience and bad luck, plus some last-ditch Proteas resistance cost them a 2-0 lead going into Perth. I dont think they'll be able to best England on their own turf next year - a 1-0 or 2-1 loss ratio would be quite respectable, but if the selectors keep making the tough calls, as they did with Ponting (I have no doubt whatsoever that Ponting was given a quiet tap on the shoulder, his turnaround on retirement was just too quick), then victory in the home Ashes in 2013-14 is better than an even-money bet.

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Ian ChappellClose
Ian Chappell Widely regarded as the best Australian captain of the last 50 years, Ian Chappell moulded a team in his image: tough, positive, and fearless. Even though Chappell sometimes risked defeat playing for a win, Australia did not lose a Test series under him between 1971 and 1975. He was an aggressive batsman himself, always ready to hook a bouncer and unafraid to use his feet against the spinners. In 1977 he played a lead role in the defection of a number of Australian players to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which did not endear him to the administrators, who he regarded with contempt in any case. After retirement, he made an easy switch to television, where he has come to be known as a trenchant and fiercely independent voice.

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