Greg Chappell has urged the Australian cricket team to showcase some of their hallmark tenacity and grit in the remaining two Test matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India. The Aussie legend stated that fans are extremely disappointed with the lack of fight their team has shown so far, losing the first two Tests inside three days.
In the build-up to the series, there was plenty of talk regarding Pat Cummins-led Australia having a great chance of upsetting India in India. However, things have been rather woeful for the visitors. They lost the first Test in Nagpur by an innings and 132 runs. They did better in Delhi, but still went down by six wickets.
Australia will now take on India in the third Test in Indore, starting March 1. The Aussies will be without their skipper Cummins, who has returned home to be with his ailing mother. Writing in his column for The Sydney Morning Herald, Chappell had a message for the visitors. He stated:
“What can Australia do from here? Firstly, pick their best team and then play with the passion, tenacity and grit which is our hallmark. Australian fans know that it is tough in India.
They can accept getting beaten by a better side, but they won’t cop seeing an Australian team playing recklessly and bowled out in a session or two and turning its toes up inside three days. There is red-hot anger, bewilderment and embarrassment in our fans.”
The 74-year-old added that the Australian public has every right to be disappointed as their team has fumbled in one of the biggest challenges in international cricket. He opined:
“The Australian public are rightly incensed that our team has shown so little fight in the series so far. Sights of batsman being dismissed playing the reverse sweep first ball, and playing as though this series is not critical to the future, rankle. Australian cricket must realise that playing against India is not a sideshow, but the big show on par with or bigger than The Ashes.”
Apart from Cummins, Australia will also miss David Warner and Josh Hazlewood, who have been ruled out for the remainder of the Test series due to injuries.
“Starc and Green must be underdone but they must play” - Greg Chappell on Australia's XI for 3rd Test
In some good news for Australia amid all the gloom, pacer Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green, who missed the first two Tests due to injuries, are set to be available for the Indore Test. Chappell believes that both must play, even if they are rusty. He wrote:
“Starc and Green must be underdone but they must play. Starc is a match-winner on his day so he must be used in short, destructive bursts when a new batter comes to the crease. Green and Boland will have to pick up the slack if the rhythm eludes him.”
On the batting front, Chappell described the decision to drop Travis Head for the first Test as a mistake. Analyzing the line-up, he commented:
“(Marnus) Labuschagne, (Steve) Smith and (Peter) Handscomb are our best players of spin, so they must play. Head should have played the first Test as the in-form player, so leaving him out, even without hindsight, was a huge mistake. As a naturally aggressive opener, Head is a good foil for the more resolute Khawaja.”
Usman Khawaja top-scored for Australia with 81 in the first innings in Delhi, while Handscomb contributed 72*.
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