Super 6 ‘repairs’ for India to humiliate Australia in Bangalore
Victories and defeats are part of the ‘game’, but what hit India at Pune was more than just a defeat. It was an event that was never experienced before. 105 and 107 all-out came very close to the 100 and 66 all-out at Durban in December 1996. Pune and Durban had many ‘score’ similarities.
In Durban, South Africa managed just 235 in their first innings before India were shunted out for a paltry 100. South Africa then held on for 259 in their second essay before smashing India out for just 66 in the second. The biggest difference (other than just the opponent) was the venue, which is why Pune pinches more.
Such high impact events can demoralise a team, but as the adage goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This Indian unit is a tough nut. We have seen over the last couple of years how an odd defeat doesn’t derail this unit.
Like coach Anil Kumble put it yesterday, “I don’t want to look back. We are here to look ahead.” How true! There’s no reason India cannot bounce back at Bangalore and do the same in style – a thumping 300-run win or an innings win. Here’s what the team needs to do to make that happen:
#1 – Do not make dramatic changes to the playing XI
There are quite a few players under pressure after the Pune drubbing. Unfortunately, some of them have been under pressure for some time now, but the team’s success had beautifully cushioned their failures. KL Rahul played the most audacious shot in the first innings of the Pune Test.
One school of thought suggested he played his part before making one horrific mistake. The other school of thought suggests he should never ever have attempted that kind of a shot, especially considering it was a difficult pitch where shot-making was not necessarily on. Plus, with the partnership building between Rahul and Rahane, there was every opportunity to grind the spinners down and take control.
Remember the 1998 Test between the same opponents at Chennai when Sachin, Dravid and Azharuddin blunted Shane Warne and Gavin Robertson to win the famous opening Test at Chennai? India missed a similar opportunity thanks to the reckless shot selection of Rahul, but does that mean he should be axed? Definitely not.
Agreed he has played Test cricket like T20 but he deserves one more chance, at least in front of his home crowd. So is the case with the likes of Rahane and Murali Vijay. They are seasoned campaigners and one bad defeat shouldn’t lead to the ‘axe effect’.
If anything, they can consider replacing Jayant Yadav with Kuldeep Yadav. That change is not to suggest Jayant is a bad choice, but to present Kuldeep's case as a better one. So, just the one change – Kuldeep Yadav to come in for Jayant Yadav.