Ian Chappell, former Australian captain feels a “heightened sense of chaos” and confusion over scheduling and quarantining in the run-up to India’s upcoming Test series Down Under could favour the visiting team instead.
Uncertainty over scheduling is marking the lead-up to the much-anticipated tour, matches of whose will be played in a controlled bio-secure environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ian Chappell: Uncertainty Over Schedule May Favour India Amidst Chaos
Last time in 2018-2019, the T20I series was drawn 1–1 but India won the Test series 2–1 which was the first time that India had won a Test series in Australia. In the ODI series that followed, Australia won the first match but India went on to win the next two games and consequently the series 2–1 and in the process recording their first bilateral ODI series victory in Australia.
“… In fact, uncertainty over the schedule at this late stage of preparations is reminiscent of what visiting teams have to contend with in the lead-up to an Indian tour. In other words, India will be right at home in this chaotic atmosphere,” Chappell wrote in ESPNcricinfo.
The Australian great’s opinion is partly influenced by a remark made by cricket expert and commentator Harsha Bhogle in January 2008, following the Monkey-gate scandal where Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh were involved in banter.
“In these weird pandemic times there is a heightened sense of chaos surrounding the upcoming tour. Which brings to mind the words of respected Indian broadcaster Harsha Bhogle: ‘Indians can navigate through chaos and thrive in it, while it unsettles Australians’,” Chappell said.
The squads for the tour are yet to be announced by the Indian selectors, though reports claim a strong contingent of 32 cricketers could be named in the upcoming weeks of October.
Chappell added, “On Harsha’s reading of the two rivals, Australia should be wary of the upcoming series with the probability of sudden last-minute disruption.”
India are scheduled to play three T20s, three ODIs and four Tests in Australia as the ODIs begins in November 27, followed by T20Is in 4th December and Tests in mid-December onwards.
Ian Chappell: Australia Won’t Miss David Warner & Steve Smith This Time Around While Marnus Labuschagne’s Batting Progress Will Boost Them Further
However, unlike in the last tour, the presence of the two stalwarts David Warner and Steve Smith, who were absent due to ball-tampering allegations which saw them banned for a year, will boost Australia. Also, Ian Chappell indicated that batsman Marnus Labuschagne’s rapid progress will certainly aid the hosts.
“Australia possess a highly skilled pace attack ideally suited to home conditions. And this time round they won’t be missing the valuable services of Steve Smith and David Warner, and the batting has been further bolstered by the meteoric rise of Marnus Labuschagne,” Chappell wrote.
“Even a diluted Australia were no pushovers last time – they won the Perth Test – and on paper at least, they are a far stronger combination this time.” Chappell said India’s hopes will rest on Virat Kohli’s ability to handle the Australian pacers.
“India’s chances for a repeat series victory will depend to a degree on Virat Kohli’s ability to take charge against the Australian pacemen and set an example for the other batsmen.”
“On the last tour it was Cheteshwar Pujara who stubbornly resisted the Australians, eventually wearing them down so other Indian batsmen could prosper,” Chappell wrote in the column.
Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s Test specialist batsman scored 521 runs last time in Tests which was way ahead than Australian batsmen. But this time Marnus Labuschagne is on form averaging 63.43 in 14 Tests while former skipper Steve Smith averages a staggering 62.84 in 73 Tests.
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli averages more than 50 in each international format which is an advantage for India. Ian Chappell, however, commented that Virat Kohli should set an example for the other batsmen by leading from the front.
Sydney and Canberra will host the white-ball leg of India’s tour after the New South Wales government allowed the visiting team to train during its mandatory quarantine upon arrival.
“In light of the surrounding unpredictability it’ll be fascinating to see if the kings of chaos prevail.”
Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will be the venues for the 4-match Test series.