After playing out a laborious, painful and drab draw in Chennai, India and South Africa move to Ahmedabad. Of the three locations for this series, Chennai was most likely to produce a result. Now that that hope was buried I am not holding my breath, awaiting the results of the Ahmedabad and Kanpur Tests. Then again, the BCCI has pulled some surprises in the past and I for one would be most happy to be horribly surprised once again! Matches like the one we had in Chennai are bound to grind Test cricket to the ground in India, as Jamie Alter says on Cricinfo.
Sachin Tendulkar is not playing in this next Test. So that should give the team and opportunity to move Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman up the order. This would give them an opportunity to play another bowler. My bet would be on Irfan Pathan playing instead of Sachin Tendulkar. The team would then need to decide on whether or not it wanted a mildly fit and listlessly lethargic R. P. Singh or the spin option of Piyush Chawla. I’d go for the latter. Although there is grass on the pitch, the Motera track has assisted spinners on days 3-5 of Test matches.
This would then give the following Team India: Sehwag, Jaffer, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Dhoni, Pathan, Chawla, Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth
After his splendid innings at Chennai, the South Africans are wary of Virender Sehwag. They have decided to target Sehwag with short stuff aimed at his rib cage! Not a bad ploy particularly if the South Africans are able to bowl rib-cage stuff from around the wicket. After all, Sehwag has shown his ability to handle anything short and outside off-stump! South African coach, Mickey Arthur, indicated, “We had a look at Sehwag’s fantastic innings. He cuts the ball very well but we saw he played his first pull shot only after scoring 312.”
It would be interesting to see how Sehwag copes with this approach.