India recently announced their playing XI for the opening Test against Australia starting at the Adelaide Oval from December 17. The visitors have chosen to field seven batsmen, with Wriddhiman Saha as the wicketkeeper, and four specialist bowlers for the pink-ball Test.
For long, India have been left embarrassed by their tail-enders’ inability to bat. The gulf has seemed even wider on overseas tours, and was emphasized by how the Aussie tail wagged in the Adelaide Test of 2018-19 before Virat Kohli’s side eventually managed to pull off a narrow 31-run victory.
While Ravichandran Ashwin – slotted in at number eight – can bat, one shouldn’t be blamed for casting doubt on Umesh Yadav (batting average 11.33), Mohammed Shami (11.30) and Jasprit Bumrah (2.91) to even hold up one end. Yes, Bumrah smashed an unbeaten 57-ball 55 in the pink-ball practice match last week, but the knock was his first-ever first-class fifty.
In an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda, former India wicketkeeper Vijay Dahiya opined that India’s current tail is nowhere close to that of Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh from yesteryear. However, he spoke in India’s defence and added that even foreign bowlers struggle with the bat in Indian conditions.
“Anil and Bhajji had first-class hundreds to their name, and their experience and everything. Unfortunately, we don’t see that [with our current tailenders]. And conditions also make a lot of difference. When we talk about our tail and their tail; if you look at their tail coming to Indian conditions, then you can’t talk much about them,” Dahiya, who played 2 Tests and 19 ODIs, said.
Dahiya, who is the head talent scout of the Delhi Capitals, reckoned that the visiting batsmen would have to step up in the forthcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He opined that there is a stark contrast between the tails of India and Australia both in terms of experience and depth.
“They (Australia) definitely have more depth...their lower-order is more experienced than our’s as well, especially [in] Test match cricket. But I think it’s the top half. When you talk about the batting, it’s the top half...because both the teams have got special bowlers in their armoury, so it’s going to be more about the top 5 or let’s say top 6,” Dahiya explained.
India will definitely miss Hardik Pandya in this sort of series, says Kiran More
Hardik Pandya played the six-match white-ball leg of the ongoing Australia tour and even bowled four overs in the second ODI on November 29. But the 27-year-old all-rounder was left out of the Test squad since he is yet to attain full fitness with regards to regularly sending down deliveries.
Former India stumper Kiran More admitted that India will desperately miss the services of a batting all-rounder in the upcoming Test series Down Under. The former chief national selector also voiced the same opinion as Dahiya, and said India’s top six would have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders.
“Hardik Pandya gives you that strength, as a bowler and batsman. So I think he will be definitely missed in this sort of series specially, when you’re in Australia because they are definitely charged up and they just come at you and get you three to four wickets down...So I think we have to trust our top six because we don’t expect that this tail is going to do something special,” More, who played 49 Tests and 94 ODIs, exclusively told Sportskeeda.
India’s second-ever pink-ball Test will be followed by day games in Melbourne (Dec 26-30), Sydney (Jan 7-11) and Brisbane (Jan 15-19).
Published 16 Dec 2020, 17:36 IST