Australia has won one series in India in half a century, but Robert Craddock believes Australia can beat India away from home. Here’s why.
Don’t be perturbed by the haunting statistics … Australia can beat India in India.
Australia has the team and, more importantly, the mindset to join Adam Gilchrist’s relentless crew of 2004 as the only Australian team to win a Test series in India since Bill Lawry’s triumph in 1969.
Here’s nine reasons why Australia can pull off Mission Improbable …
THE SMILING ASSASSINS
Calm and relentless. That is Australia’s new mantra under Pat Cummins and experienced scribe Bharat Sundaresan reckons it’s the perfect mindset to take to India.
“When things turns ugly in India you simply cannot beat the home team because they get so fired up,’’ Sundaresan said. “The calmness of this Australian team will work very well for them.’’
The series will be much the poorer for the absence of Indian wicket-keeper and haymaking batsman Rishabh Pant following a car accident last month – but it has opened a wide door for Australia.
Pant averaged 68 and 58 on his two triumphant tours to Australia and, when he got going, Australia had no idea of where to bowl to him.
Significantly, he batted in the top six which allowed India to play an extra bowler.
Eleven of the 18 Australians visited India on the last Test tour five years ago.
Experience counts. Australia nearly won that series. Experienced seamer Scott Boland and Josh Hazlewood can reprise the miserly game plan which saw Australia win in India in 2004.
WHAT A BUMMER
India’s champion fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, who has a back complaint, is likely to take little or no part in the series, a massive boost for Australia.
Bumrah was a key reason why India twice defeated Australia in Australia. He is a master of his craft. He was looking forward to playing Australia in India for the first time. His team will miss him dearly.
For once – and it’s a significant event – Australia will not be the team under most pressure.
India have lost one of their last 30 home Test series. A billion avid fans expect them to win. Australia has won their once since 1969. Winning would be a bonus.
The injury dramas over Jasprit Bumrah and Rishabh Pant has distracted attention from the mysterious absence of the world’s most under-rated cricketer, spin-bowling all-rounder Ravi Jadeja.
The player Shane Warne dubbed “The Rockstar’’ has been missing from cricket for six months following knee surgery and must be underdone entering this series – if, indeed, he makes it.
A HEAD START
Most winning series in India contain a shock secret weapon and Travis Head might just be that man … with ball rather than bat.
Look for his underrated off-spin to make a Joe Root style impact – we’re tipping him to take eight wickets for the series.
India have a very good batting line-up but not a great one.
For all the talk about Virat Kohli’s white ball form he has not scored a Test century for three years and failed three times in two recent Tests against Bangladesh.
Openers Shubman Gill (32) and KL Rahul (34) have modest Test averages. Australia’s attack will be a supreme test for India.
India have posted the first Test of the series at spin friendly Nagpur in the belief they could cast a web around the Australians. But are they being too clever?
Sometimes extreme turning decks can even things up rather than pay the more experienced practitioners. The ground’s biggest one-innings haul is held by Australia’s Jason Krejza who took 8-215 there in 2008.
Originally published as Robert Craddock: 9 reasons why Australia can upset India away from home
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