India are 0-3 down in the series against Australia. With just one Test to go, India have the last chance to salvage some pride in the final Test. But everything they do seems to be going against them. So here are our 10 suggestions for the Indian team that might help them in Adelaide.
Play Rohit Sharma: He is one of the most technically sound batsmen in the young brigade. He would have well played ahead of Virat Kohli had the latter did not score a century in the warm up match. But with seniors struggling, it's time Rohit is given a chance ahead of VVS Laxman. Agreed that Laxman is a legend, but he failed repeatedly. Also now that India have nothing lose, it's a risk that deserves some merit. It's high time we infused some young talents in our Test batting.
Play both Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin: The Adelaide wicket assists spinners and India should capitalize on it. Just because you are in Australia doesn't mean you have to rely on pace. Make a statement and play two spinners and two pacers. Both Ojha and Ashwin can be effective and the team management should groom them for future. Farsightedness is the need of the hour. Also two spinners mean, India's over-rate will be well within the check.
Play Virat Kohli at No. 3: Young Virat Kohli should be moved up the order and played at No. 3 ahead of Rahul Dravid. Why? Dravid is struggling with his form and openers' failure with the bat means he is out in the middle in no time after the start of the play, and is under immense pressure.
Kohli, who is a future prospect for the No. 3 slot, is nicking the ball well and was the lone fighter in Perth. Promotion in batting order will not only give him confidence but he can also be a cover for Dravid, who can play at No. 4.
Sehwag should resist swinging his bat unnecessarily: There is seldom a series in which Virender Sehwag does not play at least one big knock. In this Australia series, he's been India's biggest disappointment. A good knock is well due from him. But for that he needs to take responsibility and resist hitting every delivery that's going out and wide.
Sachin Tendulkar should focus on playing a big knock: Whether one accepts it not and whether he wants it or not, the much-hyped milestone is playing on Sachin Tendulkar's mind. Of all the Indian batsmen, he has looked the most settled, assured and confident. But still a big knock has not come from him. So far he has scored 249 runs in 6 innings at an average of 41.50. But neared his 100 twice but failed to get past it. His cautiousness was well evident. So he should stop thinking about it as it is bound happen anytime, and play a knock that could shun all his critics who think he cannot win India matches.
Draw positives from India's record at Adelaide on the last two tours: They say 'an optimist sees opportunity in a calamity' and that's what India must do. In their last two tours of Australia, India did not lose their matches in Adelaide. While in 2003-04 India won the match, in 2007-08 the Test ended in a draw.
Take the butter off your fingers: Runs saved are the runs scored. Cricket Cliché? Yes, it is but it is crucial for the Indian team, who has been pretty lethargic on the field. Only saving the boundaries will not control the run flow. India have been conceding too many singles. The Indian fielders have exceeded the limit of generosity when it came to converting ones into twos and twos into threes. It's time they ran faster, collected the ball cleanly and returned it swiftly.
Sehwag needs to use his street-smart ideas: One-match ban on MS Dhoni might be a blessing in disguise. While Dhoni is an instinctive captain and has done well in the past, Virender Sehwag is a street-smart cricketer. Change in approach might benefit the Indians but for that Sehwag will have to be on his toes and not let the match take its own course.
Do not succumb before a fight: In the last three Tests, we saw Indian wickets fall in a heap. It appeared we gave up the fight even before the final result was out. Do not let the shoulders droop, back each other, believe each one of the Indian players are among the best in the country and perform like the best.
Practice makes one perfect: And no matter how much the recreational activities might help in team bonding and making plans for the opposition, it actually boils down how much one practises to perfect himself. Too many off days have not helped the struggling Indian batsmen. So practise hard and fix all the glitches before taking the ground for the final time in the series.
Jan 24 2012,05:30 (IST)
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Dec 26 2011,05:00 (IST)