India for once go in as the favorites as they take on the Australians at home in a four match test series that including the traditional Boxing Day test and the New Year Test match. India will play at full strength with all their players being fit while Australia are a significantly weaker side in the absence of their regular captain Steven Smith, vice-captain David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft.
Is This A Toothless Australian Team?
The Aussies have a reputation in world-cricket of being the worst sledgers in the game and always get very aggressive with the opposition when they are playing at home. Australia under new captain Tim Paine have tried in the last 6 months to tone down that aggression and change their image from bad boys to gentleman.
Unfortunately that strategy hasn’t worked well for the Australian team and former captain Michael Clarke is worried that this so called ‘friendship series’ and Australia’s new attitude of being polite on the field is going to hurt them badly.
South Africa recently played Australia in an ODI series and their captain Faf Du Plessis referred to the Australian’s as tame and asked them to go back to their old behaviour so they can be more competitive. Head coach Justin Langer made it clear that Australia will not revert to their old mentality ahead of the India series.
In a statement, Langer said “I’m not sure what people want from us. We can’t confuse the messages. On the one hand, we’re too aggressive and probably stepped over the line. Now we’re getting called tame. We’re going to play good, hard cricket. It’s what the fans want to see. It’s what Australia wants to see. When you lose a series, it’s easy for someone to come out and say we’ve been a bit tame. You can’t have it both ways.”
India Should Not Be Complacent
India definitely looks to be the stronger team on paper but they should not get complacent as Australia has shown that they have both the experience and talent available in their line-up. The pace department is strong with the likes of Starc, Cummins and Hazelwood. It is their batting that will be their biggest concern.
India have problems at the top of the order with KL Rahul struggling. C Pujara and A Rahane will also have to perform overseas for India to post big totals. The absence of H Pandya will also impact the composition of the side for the first test in Adelaide which starts on Dec 6.