Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Dec 2018 11:23:57

WHEN Indian cricket team undertook the tour of England, it went there as favourites. But as the tour progressed, the team seemed to do little to justify the favourites tag, except that Captain Virat Kohli showed tremendous form, carrying the burden almost single-handedly. Now the team would be embarking on another tough tour of Australia. But several of Australian greats, like Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Geoff Lawson and many more have began to predict a ‘significant chance’ for India to win the four-match Test series. Three factors cited for this prediction are: the sublime form in which Virat Kohli is, second, the never before seen world class pace battery and spinning advantage and the third and most important factor --the over all decline in Australian cricket of late. 

There is no denying that, led by mercurial Captain Virat Kohli, the present Indian team is a very well balanced outfit. Virat Kohli himself is in a phenomenal form and is surely the best batsman in the world as of now and therefore he will always remain a great challenge for bowlers. By his performance in England Virat Kohli has made it known to the opposition that he can bat in any condition with great ease and different conditions do not act as an inhibiting factor in his stroke-making. Already some of the senior South African cricketers have warned the Australians not to needle Kohli because that gets him charged up. That is their experience.

The second factor is the bowling department. Indian cricket team is currently blessed with world class pace bowlers that could be envy of any international team. The irony is that they cannot use all the available talent. That shows the great bench strength the Indian bowling department possesses. While this is one important aspect of the Indian bowling side, the other side is equally potent. India has several world class spinners. That they can afford to drop world class spinners like Ravichandran Aswhin or Ravindra Jadeja from time to time shows surfeit of talent in this department as well.

As far as the third factor is concerned it is really a worry for Australian cricket. The team is going through a phase of uncertainty. With talented batsmen like Steve Smith and David Warner out of the team on charges of ball tampering and facing suspension, the team suddenly appears to have lost much of its sheen. The hosts will be banking on new talent. It is under these circumstances that much is being said about India being the favourites on this tour. But then Indian cricketers must do justice to the talent they have overwhelmingly shown on domestic soil. They have to brush aside the ‘poor travellers’ tag.