In a revealing insight, former Australia wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist has spoken on the various factors that helped the Aussies win a rare Test series in India in 2004.
The team from Down Under had not won a series in India ever since the Border-Gavaskar series began in 1996 but their woeful run came to an end when they beat the hosts 2-1 in 2004. Prior to that series, Steve Waugh’s all-conquering side was thrashed by a new-look Indian team led by the mercurial Sourav Ganguly in 2001 and the visitors, it seemed, had learnt their lessons from their past experiences as they triumphed against all odds three years later.
And now Gilchrist has revealed the one factor that helped his team turnaround things in India. The legendary wicketkeeper said the Australian team relied more on their pacers and the plan really worked for them as Jason Gillespie and Glenn McGrath made life tough for the Indian batsmen throughout the series. Gillespie (20) and McGrath (14) were the third and fourth-highest taker during the series.
Speaking on Sky Sports Radio, the former player said:
“We ended up totally changing our policy in ‘04.
“We went from thinking it all had to be based around spin and going to our quicks (instead). Warnie was obviously our key spinner and he did a wonderful job, but in a rare occasion it was almost like he was really tying an end up and it was the quicks who were doing the attacking.”
Gilchrist’s comments have come after Australia picked up three pacers and four spinners for their upcoming tour of India. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Jackson Bird have been given the responsibility to take care of the pace bowling department while Nathan Lyon, Steve O’Keefe, Ashton Agar and the uncapped Mitchell Swepson will be looking to exploit the turning pitches of India.
While Starc has shown he has the ability to bowl on sub-continental pitches by taking 24 wickets in three Tests in Sri Lanka last year, Hazlewood and Bird are yet to showcase their potential on slow pitches.
“I don’t know that we’ve got quality of those guys necessarily in bowling ranks at the moment. It was a pretty high quality that was set by those guys,” Gilchrist said.
“I think the squad covers a variety of options and then they’ll get there and have to quickly work out what option they’ll want to go with. Is it spin heavy or is it going to the quicks and plugging an end up with a spinner?”
Recalling the 2004 series, he said:
“But the main thing with the quicks was that we went really negative. We started with one slip, a deep point, a deep square leg and just played on the Indians’ egos. That was probably the key tactical change we made in that series and it worked nicely. It was a patience game, but it came through.”
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