Adam Gilchrist - Gilly's standpoint

Adam Gilchrist

The Aussie legend feels Dravid, Tendulkar, Kumble and other seniors will want to go out on a high

Monday, October 06, 2021
Indian seniors prepare for their final frontier

The Australian team has landed well in advance of the first Test. This will give all the members of the squad, especially the younger players, ample time to get acclimatised as well as to absorb the passion that is associated with the game in India.

This passion could surprise a jaded traveller like me in 2004, when we beat India in India in a Test series after three decades to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. I had been to India thrice before, and I thought I had it all under control. How wrong I was. In Nagpur one night, I was enjoying a quiet meal in a pleasant but very basic restaurant at the team hotel. Whilst reading through the menu, the waiter interjected and asked if I "again" wanted to order a mild Chicken Korma, rice and naan bread, with lemonade to wash it down? I replied quizzically: "Again? I haven't been to this restaurant since we arrived." The waiter then pulled out his note pad with my order from our stay at the same hotel during the 2001 tour, and sure enough, there it was. To say I was dumbfounded would be an understatement!

There is no place where cricketers are as revered as they are in India, and while this can seem intrusive at times, it is best to absorb and embrace this adulation.

While the Indians will be hospitable to a fault off the field, the visitors would know that they should not expect any favours on the field. I am sure that the hosts realise that this is a good chance for them to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and the captain, Anil Kumble, will possibly be encountering the Australians for the last time. Each of these guys would want to make it a memorable occasion and would want to get that coveted piece of silverware back this time round.

The Australians on the other hand have experience in their batting, but are a little short of exposure to Indian conditions when it comes to bowling. None of the bowlers have played a Test in India before, and this might be a crucial factor in this series. That said, Brett Lee is now one of the most experienced bowlers in the business, and he has played enough cricket in India to be counted as an old hand. Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark are also not greenhorns, so I would back them as well. The spin department looks a little short of experience, especially with Bryce MacGain being declared unfit today. Bowling in India is the ultimate challenge for spinners because the conditions suit you, but you bowl to batsmen to are raised on slow bowling. The Indians will be smarting from their encounter against Ajantha Mendis, and would like to reaffirm their credentials as the best players of spin bowling.

A great contest is brewing, and while it feels strange not to be part of the challenge, sitting in my living room and watching it on telly is certainly the more comfortable option!