On the eve of a tour by a cricket team from Australia or South Africa we make hue and cry of 3-0 win or 4-0 win for the home team and just pushing across the opposition also run in World of cricket. As a matter of fact, these teams perform well all over the world and become number one and play the Pakistan side on regular basis on a neutral side. Whereas Team India plays with both Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and both the teams are minnows despite their long presence in international cricket. We should not underestimate the opposition at any cost even though we are the number one test side. Touring teams visit India with big aspirations and not come here just to surrender as we wish them do every time when they tour our country. English side 2012 upset the applecart as they drew the fourth test at Nagpur and made sure that their 2-1 lead remains under Captain Cook’s captaincy not long ago.
Ex-players from both the countries did make their comments and feel that Team India is on a high after the recent win against Bangladesh. Both Ricky Ponting and Kane Williamson, feel the pinch of subcontinent experience and reckons India as a ‘very tough place to tour’. But I really felt disgusted about Harbhajan Singh making comments despite being controversial throughout his career, which includes his bowling action against the Australian side being referred for rehabilitation not once or twice but three times in the early stages of his career. He took 129 wickets across all formats in international cricket against Australia was losing stream because of controversial bowling action and also the Monekeygate episode. Playing in India and Sri Lanka with strong home crowd support and the tailor made wickets made the matter more easy for the home teams in the sub-continent. R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were instrumental in subjecting Australia to a whitewash the last time they toured the country and the lead Indian spinners are in top form going into the series – having already picked up more than 100 wickets between them in the nine home tests they have played this season. But that is not the case with the resurgent Australian side at this time of the year. Harbhajan Singh hearsay outdated comment may not hold good as of now.
The Australian team is full of talent and they may upset the applecart in the first two games and touch an unassailable position straightaway. Sledging apart, Steven Smith’s side is a winning combination with a mixture of pace and spin bowling combination. If they use their bowlers in short spells in the hot and humid conditions in India, Australian team can hold upper hand as the opening slot is a cause of concern for Team India for sometime and early wickets may cause a doom. Middle order Indian batsmen are up against quality spin and they may hold the trump card as the tour progresses. Harbhajan is talking in terms of his Monkeygate episode with Australian side and it is totally biased and not according to the current form of both the sides. Australians started their tour of India in a strong way in the practice game with a score line that speaks volume of their consistency and the will to perform in the Indian soil in the coming days. The first test starts in Pune on 23rd February 2017.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)