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Anil Kumble - Insight Edge

Reserve players have fought hard to take Aus ahead in the series, feels Kumble

Sunday, November 08, 2021
‘Aussies are great fighters’

Travel is part and parcel of a cricketer’s journey in life but it is never easy to lift yourself after a day-night game and then go across the country to a place where even the body clock has to adapt. More so after a match like the one at Hyderabad, where after all that they did, the Indians still ended up losing the game.

In Guwahati, with the early morning starts in the winter, you travel to the ground in darkness and return in darkness and that for a day match! The 8.30 am start is certainly not ideal and needs a re-look. The sun can set by 4 pm, which means the possibility of the D/L method coming into play, something which tends to always be on the back of your mind, leaving the captains with a difficult task.

Also it isn’t easy to decide what to do if you win the toss. If you choose to bat first, you will have to counter the ball moving around more than a fair bit but if you chose to chase, there is every possibility of the pitch crumbling. A Catch 22 situation for sure.

Having said that the people in Guwahati are really enthusiastic when a big game comes their way. They even wait for hours outside the team hotel for a glimpse of their favourite players. Everytime you open the curtain of your room, you will hear a huge roar greeting you.

No one gets the crowd going as much as Sachin Tendulkar. Even after 20 years of playing at the highest level, to come up with possibly one of his best knocks, speaks volumes about the man, his ability and quality. Having watched him from close quarters for long and for a while now on television, I don’t remember him stroking the ball so well. He was taking calculated risks as one should in such a big chase and yet it was mostly clean hitting.

Save for that soft dismissal, but even after that the Indians should have won. It was a simple mistake of allowing panic to set in. When you need just around run a ball, the last thing you need is panic. The thing with the run out of Ravinder Jadeja was that the young man got so sucked into the run a ball equation that he was taking a big start to every ball. He was also anxious, perhaps, to get on strike.

Jadeja played his part till he was there but the fact that skipper Mahendra Dhoni had sent Harbhajan Singh ahead of him, shows that the left-hander hasn’t impressed the team management yet with his batting ability. Here I once again advocate that Amit Mishra be looked at as an option.

With the Aussies getting off to a good start in Hyderabad, the Indians lacked enough attacking bowlers in the middle overs, someone who would have gone for wickets regardless of the situation. Wickets are always the key and with the top six batsmen, including Suresh Raina, who played a good hand during the association with Sachin, in form, combined with Harbhajan and Praveen proving useful with the bat, a risk can be taken and Mishra brought in for Jadeja.

Whoever plays, will have to again contend with the fighting abilities of the Australians. Even with all that has happened to them in terms of frequent injuries, they have fought hard to be in a position from where one more win will give them the series. Dhoni’s boys will have to fight even harder to ensure that they pull it off in Guwahati and go to Mumbai with everything still to play for.