India vs Australia – How do the hosts stack up!
It seems that Yuvraj Singh, the lionhearted cricketer from Punjab and the Player of the World Cup 2011, has made good on his vow to be back in Indian colours before soon! In the last couple of months the Indian team has been on a dream run, especially in the one-day matches. India has been winning everything left, right and centre – the team has been settled and with the upcoming series against Australia at home it was hoped that the selectors would choose the team that won the Champions Trophy. In this context it was being thought that Yuvraj might not come back to the Indian team anytime soon but now it is obvious that the selectors had different ideas!
Now before further ado let’s take a look at the Indian team for the series. The batting has a settled look with the skipper MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh. As I was saying earlier, it was both unexpected and heartening to see Yuvraj come back to the Indian team but the fact that he had been receiving regular opportunities in the A team as well as in the Challenger Trophy meant that the selectors were getting him ready and also testing him for the tougher challenges ahead. It was a welcome return to form for the southpaw, compared to Sir Garry Sobers by Hanif Mohammed and there are several reasons why I say this.
A fit and experienced Yuvraj could do wonders for the team and also play the role of second spinner with aplomb that will allow Dhoni the luxury of resting or dropping one of the main spinners in the side provided they were not bowling well. In the recent series India’s strength has been, and it gives me great pleasure to say this, its all-rounders and the team chosen has a few of them as well!
India has three spinners who can contribute with the bat – Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra – and ones who are fantastic bowlers in their own right. Besides, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, the leader of the Indian seam bowling unit with his magnificent swing, is a capable contributor with the bat. The team is also blessed with a steady seam bowling line up with the likes of Ishant Sharma and Vinay Kumar to be supported by the newbies Mohammed Shami and Jaidev Unadkat. These four bowlers will offer a good mix of decent pace and a lot of control that would act as effective foils for Bhuvaneshwar.
Personally I have been baffled by a couple of non-selections. It was harsh, according to me, to leave out Umesh Yadav. He did not exactly cover himself with glory in West Indies but with his extra pace he may have been a good option to persist with. I also think that the guys who were left out of the Indian team after the Zimbabwe series such as Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Parvez Rasool, Mohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane should have been included in the T20 match that precedes the ODI series. This team has been selected for the first 3 matches in that series only but I frankly do not expect any changes in the team if it is not swamped 3 to zilch by the Aussies. However, from an overall perspective the team selected for the Aussie series seems good to go and the Indian fans, I am sure, will be hoping for nothing less than victory!