Sunday, January 15, 2012

So, Three-Nil...

Apart from statements about sides being here to win a series and predictions about The Niggle, which I was anticipating would be a key ingredient in that ambition, I've tried to avoid commenting on the performance of this Indian side, since I'm more interested in observing the Australian pursuit of that #1 ranking than trying to interpret what may or may not be happening elsewhere.

I mean, if we're not even sure what's happening behind the scenes with Australia, what chance do we have of understanding the internal operations of any other side?

The Cricinfo Quote Unquote panel this morning had this little gem from BCCI president N Srinivasan: They cannot beat us here and we will feel very happy.

If you read between the lines, this means that, at the very top of the BCCI administrative tree, a 4-0 donkey-licking doesn't matter. They'll be guaranteed to win against England and Australia at home, presumably in the meantime there's the IPL and that's all that matters.

And, in any case, while there'll be a temporary storm in a teacup until the IPL draws everyone's attention away from this debacle there's no real reason to worry because the Adelaide Test will be India's last away from home over the next two years and while the same article has Dhoni discussing the possibility of a gradual phasing out of the senior players two years without the need to worry about unfamiliar conditions will presumably give them time to stage manage the transition.

And when they're eventually obliged to venture out into foreign conditions it'll be someone else's problem, won't it?

Anyway, according to chief selector Srikkanth the result in this series reflects a collective failure and if that's the case and everyone's to blame you can't single anyone out as a scapegoat, can you?

I'll be scanning the news outlets over the next week or so to see whether anything happens as a result of Dhoni's one match suspension after his second over rate incident in the last twelve months. He was probably ready for a break anyway.

But, really, that's about all the attention I'll be paying to matters on the Indian side of the fence. What happens on the field is what matters, and, as Brydon Coverdale pointed out on Cricinfo while we've done well in these three Tests, there's No reason for Australia to get carried away yet.

A 4-0 result in this series will, from what I can gather, leave us level with India on points as far as the Test rankings are concerned, and the obvious way to move past them on the way to #1 is by winning in the West Indies, which should be achievable, then rolling South Africa here before Christmas, knocking over Sri Lanka after Boxing Day and seeing how close we can go in next year's Ashes series.

At the moment there seems to be a commendable one hurdle at a time mentality, but while we look to be getting an impressive array of bowling options together we really need to find a few extra strings to the batting bow.

Warner and Cowan look like a viable medium term opening combination, and I'd be looking forward to seeing what happens when Warner hits those pocket handkerchief-sized grounds in the West Indies.

Marsh still hasn't shown he's the best option at Three, Watson has to come back some time, and we really do need options apart from Khawaja in the first six, don't we?

Meanwhile, with a week to go until Adelaide that's about it from the Sports Desk until the weekend.

Assuming, of course, there's no major incident in the interim.

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