Gearing up for Boxing Day – II

Posted on December 24, 2011

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On the Indian front

My friend and esteemed co-journalist Megha Kuchu has picked her five players, young guns, who will have a key role to play in the series.

She lists Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Considering that Gambhir, Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Dhoni are sure starters along with four bowlers, it will be a toss-up between Sharma and Kohli.

Safely played, Megha.

Rohit with 305 runs at 76.25 might have assured himself a berth in the test squad, but an established Virat Kohli’s  52 and 63 in the final test and 117 in the Vizag one- dayer against would likely rank ahead for that one crucial berth.

To his credit, Rohit Sharma can handle the short ball, of which there will be a barrage, better than his Delhi team mate. But Kohli’s consistency over the year, which will end with him as the top ODI run getter, would likely have the edge during the selection for the playing eleven.

Gautam Gambhir, established himself not just as a dependable opener but an aggressive fighter during Australia’s tour to India in 2008. His gutsy yet flamboyant double century was a mixture of solid technique and wise stroke play. Waltzing down the track to Shane Watson and slapping the delivery over mid-wicket to reach that 200 mark. Melbourne would be a fine place to regain that touch.

This could perhaps be the last Australian tour for Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. But, as pointed in the Bradman Oration by Rahul, we can never tell. However, against all odds, this would be Zaheer’s last tour down under. The Melbourne wicket coated with grass will aid in seam with the new ball and Zaheer’s forte – reverse swing when the ball is old.

With Pragyan Ojha and R.Ashwin finding rhythm while operating in tandem, the Australian line-up will need get on their toes to guard against their wily-arm balls.

With the aid for seam guaranteed, Ishant Sharma will be raring to make a comeback from injury after a good season which saw him pocket ten-wickets on a bouncy Barbados wicket. All this, only if recovers on time.

It would be interesting to see Zaheer on one end with Ashwin or Ojha operating from the other. The move would foil the progress of the batting team and work to break partnerships.

Boxing Day is just the beginning with three mouth-watering games to follow after that. Hope that the series will erase the demons off 2007-08. Fingers crossed.

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Posted in: Cricket, Sports