The Indian touring party to Australia finished a two day warmup match yesterday. One could be forgiven for not having noticed this. With the Big Bash League having already started the XI against whom the Indians played (the Cricket Australia Chairman’s Invitational XI) was comprised entirely of players who weren’t contracted to play T20. With Ed Cowan having to miss the match for that same rather foolish reason (Jarrod Kimber wrote a good takedown of the decision in Cricinfo) there wasn’t a lot to interest a neutral spectator, such as myself. I had not heard of any of the players in the Chairman’s XI before now, though I certainly don’t have an in depth knowledge of Australian cricket, and it hardly looked intimidating. Still, a players-who-weren’t-good-stroke-famous-enough-to-play-in-a-fairly-experimental-T20-league XI should not have presented much of a challenge. With that in mind, Australia ought to be quite pleased with the result.
Although not a lot of the order made runs, the fact that the third wicket put on 226 will certainly throw up red flags for India. They fielded what would probably be considered their first choice bowling attack minus for Zaheer Khan, but they still conceded 398-6. Ishant Sharma bowled only five and a half overs in the innings, as he is nursing a sore ankle. He injured the ankle in England and with India’s busy schedule it has not been repaired. Australia have had a lot of trouble with the swinging ball (to say the least) and if Sharma cannot play a full part in the series it will be a big blow to India. Yadav was their best bowler in the match, but we saw with Praveen Kumar in England last summer that one man cannot carry the attack. The drawback for the Aussies is that the Indian batsmen mostly seemed in good nick, but with the Chairman’s XI bowling being as anonymous as the batting I don’t think too much can be read into that score.
2 thoughts on “Australia unknown XI v Indian out of form XI”
India’s first-choice bowling attack: Sharma (who was scheduled to bowl only 6 overs anyway, and bowled really well in the 5.3 that he did). Yadav (who was good), Khan and Ashwin (both of whom didn’t play). Unless there is an injury, none of the bowlers who bowled yesterday will get a look-in for Boxing Day.
As for the batting, Gambhir looked scratchy, Kohli threw away his wicket. Second-string bowling or not, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, and most importantly, Sharma and Saha, were rock-solid.
India are hardly “out of form”, as you say.
‘Unless there is an injury’ is pretty optimistic, given that Sharma could not even get through six overs and Khan is only playing in one warmup match. (That didn’t go so well in the summer.) Even disregarding that, however, conceding 398-6 against a top order most of whom haven’t even played for Australia’s ‘A’ side is not a good performance. The Chairman’s bowling attack was not second-string, it was closer to third or fourth-string. It was an attack against whom an average club side would be expected to score runs.