Australia v South Africa - Third Test: Day 5

Former Australian captain Ian Chappell has said that Pat Cummins and co. must ditch any pre-conceived template in their forthcoming Test tour of India. He said that Australia must choose the best bowlers for the conditions to stand any chance of recording a landmark series win.

Australia will embark on a four-Test tour of India, hoping to achieve their first series win on Indian soil since 2004. The tourists have an uphill task at hand, as India haven’t lost a Test series at home since 2012. The selectors have picked an 18-man Test squad, including four frontline spinners, led by Nathan Lyon.

An 18-player Test squad has been assembled for the Qantas Tour of India in February and March. Congratulations to everyone selected!

In his column for ESPN Cricinfo, Chappell said that Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood must utilise the old ball well in India to achieve success.

“Australia need to ditch any temptation to obey the right- and left-arm theory and only choose the best bowlers for the conditions. Australia’s “big three”, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, all average in excess of 30 in India, and they’ll need to particularly display improved old-ball nous to achieve better results in India.”

The tourists have suffered a body blow ahead of the opening Test in Nagpur on February 9, with Mitchell Starc set to miss the game due to a finger injury. So, the onus will be on Hazelwood and Cummins to get the ball to reverse to put India’s much-vaunted batting unit under pressure.

“Achieving batting success will be a big challenge for the Australian batters” – Ian Chappell

Ian Chappell (Image Credits: Twitter)
Ian Chappell (Image Credits: Twitter)

Chappell warned that Australia have a massive task ahead of them in alien conditions, especially if Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowl in tandem at full tilt.

“It is one thing to be confident of a player’s batting ability in Australian conditions but another to wonder how they’ll perform on entirely different Indian pitches. Achieving batting success will be a big challenge for the Australian batters, especially if Ravindra Jadeja bowls successfully in partnership with the highly efficient R Ashwin.”

The former player added:

“A consistent Australia will fancy their chances of winning the “final frontier” contest against India. Nevertheless, this will be a tough challenge – also referred to in Australia as “Everest” – as the Indian side is powerful and almost impossible to defeat in home conditions.”

Jadeja, who has not played international cricket since September, marked his return to action in the Ranji Trophy and was highly effective with the ball, picking up a seven-for. The left-arm spinner was the most successful bowler when Australia visited India in 2017, taking 25 wickets in four Tests at 18.56.

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