The touring Indian team is in a mood to experiment. Australia outplayed India by 285 runs on the first of the three-test series. That has forced India to go in search of a suitable combination that would bring dignity and discipline to the team performance in the next two test matches. The four-day match against Tasmania has begun. Will this game have the desired impact on the tourists? Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinth, Ajit Agarkar and M S K Prasad are rested for this match.
Sourav Ganguly, who led the Indians to a victory over Queensland before the first Test, is the captain. Both the pacemen Debashish Mohanty and T Kumaran are included for this encounter. So was off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. The most significant aspect of this combination to play Tasmania is the inclusion of Nayan Mongia. M S K Prasad replaced this senior wicket-keeper in the Indian team at the start of the season as Mongia was injured.
Then before the first test in this tour, Prasad was injured and looked likely to miss the test. Hence Mongia was flown to Australia. Mongia has been a spectator since his arrival in Australia. For, Prasad recovered in quick time to play the first test! On the eve of the Tasmania match, it was revealed that the India team management opted for Samir Dighe instead of Mongia.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) claimed that it came to know about the choice (Dighe) only after asking Mongia to fly to Australia. The notorious "communication gap" has surfaced again. In modern era of amazing communication technology, how a huge institution like the BCCI could ever suffer from this "gap" is anybody's guess. All those who are closely associated with Indian cricket are getting used to these "gaps".
Now the question is, what is in store for India in Australia? The bowling department did a creditable job in the second innings of the first test. Perhaps, if Kumaran or Mohanty could be made the fifth bowler for the remaining two test matches, the attack might strike the needed balance. Despite playing six batsmen in the first test, India did not impress at all. In modern test cricket, the wicket-keeper is expected to play a stellar role. Coming in to bat at number seven slot, a wicket-keeper must reveal an extraordinary sense of commitment. Adam Gilchrist (Australia), Mark Boucher (South Africa), Moin Khan (Pakistan) and Adam Parore (New Zealand) are some of the fine examples.