By Qaiser Mohammad Ali
New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) Lack of experience of the Indian players cannot be cited for the team’s crushing eight-wicket defeat to Australia in the first Test in Adelaide, but luck eluded Virat Kohli’s boys as edges off our bowlers often didn’t carry to fielders, points out former India captain Sachin Tendulkar.
“They have dealt with pressure situations. Barring Prithvi [Shaw], and possibly Mayank [Agarwal], all the players have played enough. Virat, Ajinkya [Rahane], Cheteshwar [Pujara] and [Wriddhiman] Saha have been around while Hanuma Vihari, compared to these guys, has played less. So, players have the ability to soak that pressure and they did their best,” Tendulkar told IANS in an exclusive interview.
“But sometimes you also need luck to be on your side. And as I said there were not a number of occasions when the [Indian] batters were getting beaten and continuing to bat without losing wickets. That did not happen. The edges were going straight to fielders and they were carrying,” he emphasised.
India won the toss and scored 244 and did well to bowl out hosts Australia for 191 to take a 53-run lead. But in the second innings, India inexplicably capitulated for 36 — their lowest ever total — with not a single batsman getting into double digits. And Australia in their second innings scored 93 for two for an easy eight-wicket win to take a 1-0 lead in the four-Test series.
“In the [Australian] first innings, there were a number of edges but the ball didn’t carry to fielders. I remember, at least three times the ball didn’t carry. In the second innings, the wicket had become harder, and there was more pace and bounce in the surface. There wasn’t exaggerated off-the-seam movement,” said Tendulkar.
After the match, Kohli admitted that the capitulation happened due to a “lack of intent” on the part of the players while giving credit to Australian bowlers for their good performance.
On the issue of lack of a genuine all-rounder, Tendulkar felt that both R Ashwin Ravindra Jadeja could bat well, even as Hardik Pandya is out of the Test team at the moment.
“Ashwin can really bat well. He is capable of getting a good partnership, handy and important runs. When we talk about Ashwin and Jadeja, it boils down to whose bowling on a particular pitch would be more useful and then you pick that bowler. Their batting is an added bonus; both can bat. I’m sure the team management must be looking at their bowling ability and picking and not worrying too much about how many runs they would contribute at No.8. Yes, those runs would be important, but they are primarily picked because of their bowling,” he said.
The second Test of the four-match series starts from December 26 in Melbourne.