Australia’s tour of India 2008-09: Series Overview

The much awaited Australia’s tour of India is over. India has won it 2-0. There is a sense of euphoria over the victory, but also disappointment over the quality of Aussie cricket. This was supposed to be the Border Gavaskar Trophy, the revenge series to avenge Sydney 08, the spirited fightback from both sides, with every session, if not every ball. There were phases of that, but sadly, what was supposed to last an entire series lasted only three sessions. The series was essentially one sided and I won’t be exaggerating in saying that we, Indian fans, were robbed.

Let’s look at this in a bit more closely, if you will.

Australia Batting: Top heavy, middle mostly missing except for Hussey with a fairly long tail. Yes, that’s the sort of batting that India had in the mid 90s. Their reliance on Hussey was reminiscent of India’s on Dravid until a very lately. Hayden was unable to score and by the time Katich found his foot to convert starts, the series was over.

Australia Bowling: Pacers did not take wickets, spinners made up the overs. Not much of a story there. Watson learnt some towards the end, but it was too little too late. Kreja is a definite prospect, but has a long way to go.

Disappointed: Brett Lee, Mathew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson (to some extent)

Ousters: Shane Watson, Cameron White, Stuart Clark

Still Shining: Michael Hussey is the lone Aussie shining

Captaincy: Ponting’s chinks in captaincy (and batting) are showing. Nagpur Day 4 overrate tactics was shocking, even raising suspicions of match fixing in some minds. That apart, we’ve seen nothing more than less than average captaincy. He’s been riding on the good fortune of having some champion performers in the past. Now that they’re gone, some creativity was required, which was lacking. But then again, the captain is as good as his team!

India Batting: Satisfactory, but could have done better given the big names and the conditions. Only Bangalore had low bounce, others seemed to aid batting more than bowling. So we should have gotten more runs. Harsh? Yes. We are a greedy lot when it comes to our famed batting line up. Gambhir did well, but has more to prove. If he survives the New Zealand series test, I’ll put a check mark next to his name. Viru, was his usual self. Dravid had a nightmare series, maybe when the Waugh curse passes, it will take the bad form along with it. I’ve said much about Dravid, so I’ll pass here, and just pray he finds his foot and grandly. To me, he’s still got it for two years at least. Sachin was again typical self- explosive at times, inglorious at other times. Ganguly impressed the most, and succeeded in his attempt to prove that he really shouldn’t be retiring. There was a sense of purpose in his batting, one so obvious in his ever since his 2006 comeback. Sad it had to be him, but the cries were almost deafening. Laxman, mostly good, mostly typical, but that is expected isn’t it? Dhoni, also typical, will butcher on a flat pitch and flop on anything else. I still think he’s got a long way to go as batsman. He’s banking on the “fear factor” he creates for the opposition. The new recruit and Ganguly-recommended Murali Vijay seems very solid. Is he the next Rahul Dravid? It’s too soon to give such huge tags.

India Bowling: Pacers very impressive on bata wickets. Spinners, could have done better, given the reputation, but maybe that has to do with the fact that the pitches didn’t exactly crumble. New recruit Mishra impressive, but again, lot to prove.

Disappointed: Rahul Dravid

Ousters: None

Still Shining: Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Ishant Sharma, Zaheer Khan

Captaincy: Kumble, satisfactory. It’s sad that both the drawn matches were captained by him. Dhoni, also satisfactory. Some of the field settings were refreshing, but I thought a couple of times, his keeping dipped ever so slightly during captaincy. Time will prove whether he can indeed keep and captain. He’s got a lot to prove before we can truly hail him.

In summary, perhaps it is Greg Chappell, who seemed to be behind Ponting’s century in Bangalore! Again, promising much and delivering nothing. After all of RCA’s hospitality, 22 odd different pitches, extra practice matches and all, this is all Guru Greg could do! Couldn’t resist that dig! 🙂


12 Responses to Australia’s tour of India 2008-09: Series Overview

  1. Soulberry says:

    Fine analysis Vic.

    I think Watson is a decent no.3/4 bowler. In fact he was the best Ozzie pace bowler on tour. Then he weighed in with some runs (he could have scored more). I’d say he earned his next series in the context.

    Sehwag was far from himself. He was a disappointment. He may have come good when it mattered most but one is used to seeing him score at least one real biggie against Australia. Half-centuries are not his type and would be disappointing.

    I agree Gambhir needs to play good innings abroad to establish himself truly….however, I may point out that he has the fundamentals for that. He has curbed his outside the off stump adventures and he is the one Indian batsman who can play the pull and hook with regularity and authority – both off the backfoot and the frontfoot if caught out on it with his shuffle/walk forward technique.

    Harbhajan…you missed him out..he weighed in with both bat and ball …with the bat when India was in trouble both times and with the ball when India needed him to let it rip.

    He has a fantastic all round performance – 15 wkts at 28 and 125 runs at 41+ with two crucial fifties.

  2. after all the wickets they bat on (22 as you said) they lost the count which type of wicket they were bating on 😉

    good brief to the point ‘over view’….

    sachin’s statement sums it up for me…’we should not have lost more than 3 wickets…’

    and that’s the story…in whole series we threatened to take the game away from ozies…but never did…

  3. …and both turned the game on its head SB! 🙂

  4. Trideep says:

    Australians were just not themselves. The way they batted, bowled & fielded lacked the intensity and aggression that they had all thru the last decade. Guess there is a lot more going on inside their dressing room. Its just a guess though.

    If they continue to play like this their no.1 position is under huge threat.

    As for India, most of the players in the team contributed. India have at last found a regular opening pair which can perform regularly. Its still to be seen whether this pair can perform abroad. But the promise is their.

    Dhoni did well in this series. But his major test will come when he captains in test abroad, esp in Australia, SA or England.

    All in all a good series for India and hope they continue the same form against england as well.

  5. Trideep says:

    By the way VM, How do I subscribe to follow-up comments in your blog?

  6. vmminerva says:

    @SB, thank you. Yes, I did miss out Harbhajan. He should be up there along with Still Shining folk. On Sehwag, yes, by his standards, maybe he fell short, but really, I think he’s spoiled us. The moment we see Sehwag, we think 300. 🙂 While that is certainly scintillating, the role he has assumed – to see India to at least 80 before getting a bit more careless – is at the moment very important, esp when there is still some frailty in the middle.

    @SP, true. There is plenty of scope for improvement. But tell me, don’t you think a domination by one side will be boring to watch?

    @Tri, I would be interested in that “… lot going on insider their dressing room” story. Care to cook one up? 😉 Joking aside, yes, everything else remaining the same, the Aussie’s #1 position is under threat. But I suspect they’ll dominate NZ. The SA series will be an interesting one to watch. The Indian opening pair is quite heartening, yes. We know Sehwag can, it is a question of whether Gambhir can. Btw, I comments feed I’m using here is
    But I know Gaurav is having trouble with this. I still haven’t found the time to investigate this issue further.

  7. Scorpicity says:

    Now that the England series has started, i want to kick the BCCI for scheduling it this close… We don’t even get time to brag enough :)!

  8. vmminerva says:

    🙂 Seriously! My mind is still in the Aus series. I’ll most probably skip the Eng ODI series. Will occasionally tune in to watch Sehwag or Pietersen. Somehow after T20, both the limited overs version seem a bit boring.

  9. Som says:

    It may sound nitpicking but Dhoni’s keeping is indeed a worry. You know what it takes to induce an edge on these tracks and I saw Harbhajan twice swallow the abuses that crept up his throat in in Nagpur!

  10. Soulberry says:

    OK…how about 200 then? Fine if 300 is too ambitious to expect lets make do with 200. 🙂

  11. Q says:

    Gambhir not shining? What abt Sachin and Sehwag? and Mishra? and Bhajji?


  12. vmminerva says:

    Q, you’re more excited than me! Sachin could have done a little better. I’ll join SB in greedily looking for Veer-200 before he gets into my “shining” list. Mishra’s got a lot to prove, so does Gambhir (esp overseas). Ishant promised a lot after that spell at Perth and shines with consistent performance. Bhajji, i agree should be up there; that’s a oversight on my part.

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