After having failed to win Test series in South Africa 2-1, England 4-1, the Test series in Australia is without doubt the last chance for Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli to improve the overseas record.
It is simply as one puts it bluntly – Now or Never for Team India. Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri have a golden chance to win a Test series agiant probably the weakest Australian side in recent times. Thanks to their own created turmoil. Ban on skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner due to ball tampering allegations .
If India cannot seize this opportunity it will be a opportunity lost. India has potent pace attack that did so well in England – Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, add to that Bhuvneshwar kumar and the guiles of spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. The bowling has it in them to skittle out 20 wickets. If they perform like they did in England the series could well be team India’s.
But that is easier said than done, India’s woes in England had been the batting barring superstar Skipper Virat Kohli the rest simply failed to perform collectively. Opener Shikhar Dhawan has been dropped. Murali Vijay after stint in English county has fought his way back. K L Rahul just about managed to hold on to his place courtesy last Test match hundred ( At the Oval) in England.
Cheteshwar Pujara was inconsistent. He stayed in the middle but runs dried up as well . He needs to get out of the shell. Ajinkya Rhane had a miserable series in England. That too as a deputy. There were signs of some return but he failed.
Rohit Sharma gets a chance to re- establish his Test career. He has been in and out. A permanent slot in the longer format could possibly allow him to stake a claim for the skipper’s job in the future , as no one really knows what will happen post 2019 World Cup in England.
Rishabh Pant, has been tipped to succeed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni, so this Test series another chance to further cement his place. The youngster has aggressive positive intent in his game . He has proved his mettle as batsman ( 1st Test hundred at Oval) , so one would like to see how keeps behind the stumps in the Test series as his keeping England was found wanting .
Moreover, if India is to win to the series they need to stop relying only on superstar skipper Virat Kohli to fire all the time. He is human too and can have an off day out. Hence the other batsmen need to stand up and be counted . Virat Kohli was outstanding in England and in five Tests scored 593 runs at an average of 59.30 .
If Kohli faces Test for his captaincy and batting and how he battles against the Australians, the Test series is a even bigger one for head coach Ravi Shastri. It is time Shastri walks the talk. He has in the past found himself in the line of fire for his comment hat this is s the best travelling Indian team in the last 15- 20 years. A comment that did not go down well with many cricketers like former skipper Sourav Ganguly and former aggressive opener Virender Sehwag.
The Oz is Shastri’s last chance to prove that words match action and performance on the ground. If he does not then he cannot be allowed to continue . One cannot have two set of rules for coaches.
If Greg Chappell could be sacked for not delivering then Ravi Shastri too should face the axe. Team India cannot afford to be taken for a ride by Ravi Shastri and his dream talk anymore. So for the Virat- Shastri combination this is the moment of reckoning and one which they cannot afford to lose.
India vs Australia 2018-19 Test Series Schedule:
1st Test: Dec 6 to Dec 10 at Adelaide Oval, Adelaide (6:00 AM IST)
2nd Test: Dec 14 to Dec 18 at Perth Stadium, Perth (8:00 AM IST)
3rd Test: Dec 26 to Dec 30 at MCG, Melbourne (5:00 AM IST)
4th Test: Jan 03 to Jan 07 at SCG, Sydney (5:00 AM IST