With the weather in the eastern part of the country still in the monsoon stage, the Cuttack game could well be a washout, and if that happens then India will have to win the final two games to win the series.
When the series started, there were some misgivings expressed by some Australians that this was an uncalled for series just before the Ashes. Why the subject was brought up on the eve of the tour when the tour itself was confirmed last year is a mystery.
After all, if there was nothing objectionable about the tour, then how does it suddenly become so? Could it be that from the morale point of view, those Australians thought that another big loss would dent the confidence of the team before the Ashes series?
Well, the fact is that if at all there is a loss it will not be a huge one. If anything, there is every chance of a win, and that should give the Australians a huge boost of confidence.
What this one-day series has done is to provide options to the Australian team for the Ashes series. For starters, there is the form of Aaron Finch at the top of the order, and in the middle-order there are the astonishing batting displays of skipper George Bailey and Glenn Maxwell.
Added to that is the rhythm that Mitchell Johnson has developed as he has run in hard and banged the ball around the Indian batsmen’ ears. That has to be the most encouraging of signs for the Aussies, as Johnson could well be the key bowler for them in the Ashes series.
What has been most impressive is that he has hardly sprayed the ball around and has been pretty accurate. James Faulkner also has put his hand up and showed that he could be trusted to do a good job with both ball and bat, and Clint McKay does not look like taking wickets but is regularly doing so.
Irrespective of what happens in the remaining games, the Aussies will go back with more gained from this tour and prove that all those who were doomsayers are out of sync with what modern day cricket and schedules are about.
India’s gains so far have only been in the batting department with Shikhar Dhawan being most impressive with the manner in which he has dealt with the barrage of short deliveries. Rohit Sharma also has advanced his case for a spot in the Test lineup and Virat Kohli has underlined that he is the next big thing in Indian cricket.
Skipper Dhoni has shown that when the chips are down, there is no better player than him to save the team’s blushes. Mohammed Shami is another gain, though he has so far played only one game, but in that game itself, the yorkers he bowled in the final overs were as impressive as his first spell in which he captured three wickets and should have had another.
The rains may just give the teams’ think tanks plenty to chew about, for both teams know that there is ample scope for improvement.
Professional Management Group