Friday, January 18, 2008

India poised to spoil Aussies' Sweet 17 party at Perth

By John Cheeran
Getting the basics right makes a lot of things easier. Like Indian captain Anil Kumble has found out in the third Test against at Perth.
Going into the fourth day of the Test on Saturday, India has a realistic chance of recording a historic win over the world champions of cricket and cussedness.
But how have the losers of Melbourne and Sydney bounced back in Perth, arguably the toughest turf for any touring side in Australia?
Crucially, Rahul Dravid was given his deserved slot, the No.3. Though opener Wasim Jaffer’s miserable form continued, Virender Sehwag clobbered some runs. Indian batting recovered some of its poise.
The last two Tests have contributed substantially to reduce the hype around Yuvraj Singh who has been hailed by Indian cricket writers as the best batsman in living memory after his
Sixer Show in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Kumble was under pressure to include Yuvraj in the playing XI for the first two Tests. He succumbed to that, (and naturally so) and India suffered.
Despite the brouhaha over Harbhajan Singh’s ban, the spinner was wisely left out in favour of Irfan Pathan. And those who were laying into Greg Chappell for teaching Irfan the basics of batting must be now eating their attitudes and words after the youngster proved himself as an all rounder.
Some things must be emphasized. You cannot pick a cricket XI based on TV channels’ oracles and so called SMS surveys. Yuvraj has great attitude, has expansive strokes but he should be given his chance without sacrificing the overall balance of the XI. Lesson learnt, and time for Kumble and company to finish the job at Perth.

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