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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Strong enough to beat India?

The Australian team to tour India has been selected. It contains a modest surprise or two, especially in the spin bowling department where legspinner Bryce Magain and, even more so, offspinner Jason Krejza, neither of whom has played a test, have been preferred to Beau Casson and perhaps Nathan Hauritz or Dan Cullen, each of whom has test experience (if not success).

Australia's current spin bowling resources are thin. The only spinner in the team with any test bowling accomplishments is Michael Clarke, the team vice captain and leading batsman. It's asking a lot to expect him to be both front line bowler and batter through a four match series. Presumably Magain will be the principal spinner but it's difficult to predict how he'll cope with a mature Indian batting lineup which has recently been befuddled by the Sri Lankan Muttiah Muraliduran- Ajanta Mendis duo. I wonder whether Nathan Bracken's ability to move the ball off the wicket (so often evident in ODIs) might have won him a recall to the test eleven.

The rest of the Australian team, even minus Andrew Symonds, looks OK, though there's not much scope for form lapses from the name players, especially the bowlers. India is not without its own problems but, judging by the number of players performing in the ODI and T20 sides (and the number underperforming in the test team), its talent pool is deeper than Australia's.