20 days back, India returned after whitewashing Sri Lanka across all formats. While it was astonishing to win every game on the tour, the opposition was in all sorts of trouble. The Lankans didn’t pose much trouble in any of the games and to be honest, 9-0 was an expected outcome.
While the men in blue celebrated the victory, they were aware of the tougher challenge that lied ahead. The World Champions Australia were set to tour India for 5 ODIs and 3 T20Is. Prior to the start of the contest, as it happens each time these 2 teams face off, there was a huge build up.
The social media was flooded with the flashbacks. Everyone was reminded of how intense the rivalry between these 2 sides has been over the years. The past few series were visited where the competition was fierce and another series of that intensity was expected.
Come the ODI series, what did we witness? Australians, that were known for their aggression and the never give up attitude, were nowhere to be seen. How easily the World Champions surrendered is something that astounds the most.
With just 3 matches done in the ODI series, the hosts have already stamped their authority and gained an unassailable lead of 3-0. The game has never seen the Aussies go down so easily which brings the question – Is it really Australia that has come down to tour India?
Conditions, not a reason
Very often in cricket, sides losing away from home blame the conditions. But it’s certainly not the case with the current Australian side. 12 out of 15 members of the squad have played in the Indian Premier League. They spend a good 2 months in the country every year and after their own backyard, if there is one place that they should be comfortable in, it’s India.
David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, James Faulkner, Steve Smith; all have been associated with the IPL for so long and have played the league even more than some of the Indian players. But none of them has looked at ease. Neither of the pitches that they encountered so far had anything mysterious about it and so, if the visitors make an excuse of the conditions, they need to think again.
Too much focus on the Ashes?
It’s understandable that it’s the dream of every Australian cricketer to represent the country in the iconic Ashes series but to undermine all other contests, is it really sensible? It can’t be said with certainty that due to the Ashes series under 2 months from now, the team is already looking at that without focusing on the task at hand.
The move to send the fast bowler Pat Cummins back home after the completion of the ODI series to keep him fit for the Ashes gives an impression that the think-tank is aiming for November. While it’s not wrong to keep the all-important series in mind yet to look too far ahead, not concentrating on the present is also not the best thing either.
Where is the invincible Australia?
We hear Australia and we think of all the triumphs that the team has achieved. Over the years, the likes of Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Shane Warne, Glenn Mcgrath have built a reputation for the side that posed huge threats in the opposition camps. Very rarely did the opposition manage to edge past the mighty Aussies.
But the current team isn’t even close to what it was a decade ago. The way the batsmen have succumbed to collapses in all 3 games, never occurred to Australia in the past. For any team, defeating the Kangaroos used to be very high on the list but the Indian team won’t have felt the same delight as they haven’t been challenged enough.
There is no doubt that Virat Kohli and his men have grown to be a strong unit but the Australians were never this weak. With 2 more games to go, the visitors have a chance to restore some pride but given the way they have played so far, don’t be surprised if they are clean swept by the home side.
Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, Antigua
P Sara Oval, Colombo
County Ground, Derby
Sabina Park, Jamaica
R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Old Trafford, Manchester
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