Ponting, Dhoni have decisions to make

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Old 24-Mar-2011
Ponting, Dhoni have decisions to make

The India-Australia clash is definitely a big game of the tournament, if not the biggest.

Two of the most popular teams of world cricket come face to face at a crucial juncture. It makes one ponder whether the winner of this game could become the biggest contender for the World Cup. Is such a feeling right or wrong? Only time will tell.

Going into this game, Australia will have more questions to answer to themselves than to India.

Do they need an extra batsman at number seven or will they continue with Steven Smith and Mitchell Johnson at seven and eight?

To answer this skipper Ricky Ponting will first need to ask himself, does he have the confidence in Smith to bowl him under pressure?

He didn't do that against Pakistan when he needed to pick wickets. So, can he do it against the best players of spin in world cricket? If he can't, which is very likely, will he get in David Hussey at seven to strengthen the pretty wobbly-looking batting line-up, which has been made wobblier by the skipper's lack of form.

Can Ponting get six overs from Clarke and David Hussey to make up for either Krejza's or Smith's bowling form?

I have had the opportunity to do a Ponting interview very recently and judging by his feelings, it seems he might go for David Hussey.

More than this, what surprises me about Australia is their batting. We are used to seeing the likes of Hayden, Gilchrist, Ponting and Damien Martyn, who have taken on the spinners on turning tracks.

Lack of belief

But the way the current crop have gone about the business they have not looked convincing at all. It gives a picture of lack of faith and belief in their ability and a very negative Australian mindset, which to me is the biggest stumbling block in their progress.

If they can't get out of this mindset then they would be in serious trouble, as India will be throwing a lot of spin at them. This is where India should look to capitalise.

Sehwag will walk back in to the Indian side. As for the rest, I believe there will be a toss-up between Suresh Raina and Yousuf Pathan. Both have not delivered with the bat but if you have Raina in the side it lifts your fielding, as he is electric on the ground.

He is also a part-time spinner and is surely the man with the golden arm as he has this habit of breaking partnerships. Dhoni will be comfortable with the rest of the bowling combination which he had in Chennai.

India will definitely have to guard against the late order collapse, in which they fared better against the West Indies. Once again I would remind them it is not only about scoring runs in the batting power-play. It is more about the way you bat in those five overs, according to the situation. That should sort out the problem, if there is any.

Toss crucial

The toss will be surely crucial. I read Rahul Dravid's interview a few days back and I completely agree with him that the wicket at Ahmedabad shouldn't be tampered with. I have played with this current lot of Indian batsmen and personally know that all of them would like the ball to come on to the bat. Also with the likes of Brett Lee, Mitchel Johnson, Shaun Tait around, one wouldn't like to bat on a crumbling pitch.

What should a captain do if he wins the toss at Ahmedabad? I don't think either will take any chances and will surely bat first.

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