Friday, October 03, 2008

The Clash of Titans: A Preview

People may have their own arguments. But in my opinion, the India-Australia test series is the ultimate cricketing clash. People say a lot of things about the Ashes, but probably thats because the Britishers are nostalgic about everything. With the decline of the West Indies, the Wisden and Frank Worrel Trophies have lost their sheen. India-Pakistan clashes do not have the passionate following associated with them anymore. South Africa's isolation during the Apartheid period has ensured that though being tough competitors, a series against them does not attract as much attention. So finally it boils down to India vs Australia as the ultimate showdown in Test cricket.
This is the second 4 match series being played between the two countries this year following the acrimonious and highly controversial series earlier this year. In spite of the many controversies it was a keenly fought contest with India winning the 3rd test in Perth after losing in Melbourne and the controversial test in Sydney. The series ended with Virender Sehwag scoring a match-saving century in Adelaide. Eight months on, the Aussies are in India for the return series.
The Indian side remains more or less the same but there has been significant change of personnel in the Australian camp. The biggest loss has of course been that of Adam Gilchrist both behind and in front of the stumps. Gilly will definitely be missed, by the team as well as all the fans. The Australian spin attack has for practical purposes vanished with Brad Hogg and Stuart McGill retiring one after the other. The Australian search for an opening partner for Hayden is still unresolved. And Andrew Symonds, one of the men at the centre of Monkeygate controversy has been thrown out of the team for having gone fishing. So, all in all, it seems the Aussies definetely look quite vulnerable. And going by their performance against the Board President's XI, they are the underdogs in this series.
As far as the Indian team is concerned, it has a sense of familiarity around it. No injury worries, all the big names still around. This series is considered to be another chance for the Fab Five of Indian cricket to have another go at the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. They also have a chance to redeem themselves after the poor showing in Sri Lanka. It will also give them a chance to shut up the critics who have been clamoring for their retirement. Personally, I feel that the Fab 5, Sachin, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly and Laxman should retire only when they want to and not just because people have started hollering for their retirements. In my opinion a player should quit only when somebody else is able to push them out of their slot, like Gambhir replaced Jaffer on account of his splendid showing over the past year. Players like Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Kaif, Badrinath, Raina etc maybe good enough but they have still a lot of way to go before they replace the middle order stalwarts. Similary Piyush Chawla, Pragyan Ojha and Amit Mishra are definetely not in the class of Kumble. So lets stop all this talk of retirement and just enjoy the game while they are there.
Hoping to be able to enjoy another rivetting series between these two nations.


Peyush said...

It would be interesting to see as what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object ;)

Anyways, fab-5 would be the center of attraction in this series; besides, my wishlist for this series:
1. Dada hitting a century at Edens
2. Sachin passing Lara's record by hitting a century in first test itself
3. India winning the series 2-1

I know I'm asking for too much but couldn't help it :)

Nishant said...

Why 2-1...
Start talking like Mcgrath (4-0, in our favor), although he got his wish only in his last series