Sunday, December 25, 2011

India Down Under 2012 ...Agneepath or Agonypath !!!

"Good morning & welcome to the, on the Boxing Day, India take on the might of the Aussies down under,..... the ground's lush green, light westerly wind blowing across, as the two Captains amble across to the pitch along with the Umpire & Match Referee for the toss......the stands are filling up,....people are streaming in with their beer glasses.....this is Richie Benaud along with my fellow commentator Bill Lawry"......nostalgia fills in as we remember these thickly accentuated words......its been the same over so many years....getting up early morning to switch on the TV & gape at the fascinating contest that ensues...

India vs Australia test series down under, 2012 touted as the "Agneepath Series"......the "Final Frontier" doesn't get any bigger, as the two modern era Champion teams lock on for a mouth watering contest.....this time around India under the Midas touch captaincy of Dhoni striving to achieve a series victory Down Under, a feat which has eluded the Indian team till now, while on the other hand the mighty Aussies under the captaincy of Michael Clarke, trying to regain the lost form of invincibility.
Both the sides have been wobbling over the past one year or so. India lost its No1 status to England most horrendously in the summer & the Aussies credibly drew against the Proteas at South Africa & then back home, squandered a lead to draw with New Zealand....both the team's batting coming cropper against some determined bowling by the opposition.
India arguably has the best batting line up in the world today, at least on paper, with the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Kohli, Dhoni, Ashwin, with Rohit Sharma in the reserves.....almost a never ending batting machine, with each one of them having scored at least a century in tests....seemingly invincible, capable of putting up a monumental total or chasing one. Keeping law of averages in mind, even if any three of the batsmen get amongst runs, India can safely combat any least on paper. The bowling however looks the weak link......Zaheer & Ishant, the frontline pacers with their freak fitness issues, are a worry, putting immense pressure on rookie Umesh Yadav(a tearaway pacer after a long time). The spin deptt under Ashwin & Ojha are good though, bringing in wonderful variation to test the Aussies.
Aussies currently going through a painful building process, after the retirement of Mcgrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden, Gillespie, Symonds, Langar, Lee, & others. Punter Ponting is struggling with form as is Hussey, & Michael Clarke is the only batsmen with experience in the middle, with Haddin bringing up the rear. Warner, Cowan, Marsh, etc are brilliant talent, but need to establish themselves in the tests. In bowling, Pattinson, Lyon, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, etc are upcoming stars & one will need to see how they perform against the deep batting line up of India.

In all a wonderful contest on cards....a series which can go either way. India probably has the best chance for a series win, if they play to their merits, a possibility they had come tantalizingly close in the last two series, one under Saurav Ganguly in 2003, & the other under Kumble in 2007. India tends to get shrouded by individual milestones, & the agonizing wait for Sachin's 100th century has been troubling India's focus for sometime now. There's no doubt, he will achieve the feat, soon enough, but as of now, this seems to be eating into the teams focus. However, according to me, it will be the batting of Sehwag, Dravid & Laxman, which will determine India's chances along with the bowling of Zaheer & Ashwin......

Awaiting boxing day.....