I hope for this series that India really take the best squad based on both domestic cricket and recent Test form.
I'd say that Ganguly, Laxman and Jaffer should all not be immune from a drop if they perform badly in Pakistan. Likewise, none of the bowlers barring perhaps Zaheer Khan (and Kumble of course) should have any sort of guaranteed tenure,
For the opening slot, I feel that Virender Sehwag, who has always been a stronger unlimited overs batsman than limited overs batsman will be pushing for a place if he is impressive for Delhi. Gautam Gambhir has performed just as well as Sewhag for Delhi in the past years, the difference being that Gambhir opens for Delhi whilst Sehwag is a middle order batsman for them. His partner Chopra is also a fine batsman but one feels that he is not quite up to the standard to deal with and score off the good line and length of Test match bowling.
For the middle order, Subramaniam Badrinath is a fantastically strong contender with 3887 FC runs at 58.01 (not too far behind Dravid or Tendulkar's pure FC averages). Furthermore, Yuvraj Singh cannot be kept away from the Test team much longer. He is the strongest ODI batsman in the team and rarely is your strongest ODI batsman not good in Tests. In his limited time in Tests, he has performed fine and showed no difficiencies with 830 runs at 33.20. This is not to mention Manoj Tiwary who topped the averages in last year's Ranji Trophy at 99.50 off 10 innings and Uthappa who topped the run scorers list with an average over 50!
For the pace bowling, the competition is much less stiff but with Munaf Patel having already put two very impressive FC performances - his anhiliation of Mumbai in the Irani Trophy and impressive 2 for 29 off 22 against Tamil Nadu. If India choose two spinners, it is anyone's guess who will play out of Chawla (youngest but most talented), Powar (good batsman) and Harbhajan (was superb for Surrey in 4 day cricket),
India cannot afford to stick with the formula who scraped past England. Australia, even post McGrath, Warne and Langer are twice the team that India beat 1-0.
The speed at which a fielding team gets through the innings is overrated.
I would think their records against Australia will see Harbhajan, Sehwag and Laxman (f he dosent light up the Pakistan series) make the trip for the tests. I think it would be great for Chawla long-term to bring him out here, but not as the second spinner because I dont think he's ready to play test cricket in Australia yet and I reckon Harbhajan would present more of a threat to our batsman anyway.
Ganguly's sexy 100 at the Gabba last they toured Australia was amazing, so hence they should just keep in the team forever .
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How much weight they put on Yuvraj's ODI and 20/20 form will remain to be seen, but I don't think Yuvraj will come in place of Jaffer. Whatever happens, we need a good solid, and set opening combination for Australia. Karthik and Jaffer did the job in England, and unless they absolutely bomb out vs. Pakistan (and I mean a whole set of horrible starts), they should remain for the Australian series.
Oh he's definitely nothing special, but the importance of a set opening partnership in Australia cannot be underestimated. A large part of India's success in 2003/04 was Sehwag and Chopra's opening partnerships, blunting the new ball attack and allowing Dravid, Laxman and co. to perform against the old ball.
If India cannot find a good, inform opener in the height of the FC season, after a 3 Test series against Pakistan and a few months after several India A matches, I lose all hope.
Don't get me wrong, I understand what you're saying, but do you really want to debut a new opener against Australia in Australia?
Karthik and Jaffer delivered in England, often when batting conditions were tough at various points. Can't ask for much more.
Yeah, Karthik and Jaffer won the series for India in that second Test with that 150 run partnership, changing the openers now would be silly, imo.
Against the most experienced middle order in world cricket, the only weakness is the new ball (hence they are best in the middle) and you need an opener who can consistantly play out the new ball or else one with a high enough average (Sehwag?) to account for the odd low score. Jaffer is neither of these.
Jaffer & Karthik did great the one chance they got in SA too. They may be as good as Chopra & Sehwag, Jaffer is all or nothing type, but even a couple of alls will be good too.
Key for India are the seamers keeping it together.
In Australia the last time around, Agarkar did well especially the one match-clinching spell. Need a pacer to really really step up, Sreesanth is a candidate and Zaheer is bowling well too.
(Trying hard to make myself think that this Indian team are more than lambs to the slaughter, not withstanding the fact that the last one did pretty well)
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