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I would have gone for Jaffer instead of Sehwag for the Australia series: Jamie Alter

IBNLive.com
Feb 20, 2013 at 07:15pm IST

Can India bury the ghost of the England series against Australia? Cricketnext editor Jamie Alter joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. It is indeed a testing time for both teams, with both in transition times. Doesn't Australia look better in paper and with players in Form. I feel, India must do a) Get Sehwag bat in middle order b) Pick bowling based on pitch conditions c) Ask for good wickets(preferably batting friendly) and not turners to well in the series. Your view please Asked by: Narayan

I would have gone for Jaffer instead of Sehwag for the Australia series: Jamie Alter

Can India bury the ghost of the England series against Australia?

A. Australia have a much better fast-bowling attack and that's why they have named four pacers in their XI already. Siddle, Pattinson and Starc are leagues ahead of Ishant, Bhuvneshwar and Dinda. But how do you expect bowlers to be picked based on conditions when there is a paucity of options? On top of that, England proved that conditions are not a big factor for Indian bowlers any more. Asking for certain types of wickets does not hold as much relevance as it did earlier, especially with this crocked Indian team. As for your question on Sehwag, he should stay at the top if he finds himself in the team.

Q. Selectors ignored Wasim Jaffer. When they removed Gambhir, I guess this was the time to select Jaffer instead of Dhawan. Your thoughts on it? Asked by: Sandeep Rao

A. Jaffer deserved a run based on form, first of all, because if you are not rewarded outstanding domestic form then what's the point of scoring runs in the premier domestic tournament? He not only had more runs than Dhawan but is known to be a very solid batsman and solidity is what India require at the top. Taking nothing away from what Dhawan has achieved, he has looked a shaky batsman at the international level. For this series alone, I would have gone for Jaffer.

Q. Who will be opening the innings for India with Sehwag? Asked by: venkatesh

A. If Sehwag is picked, first of all, he may bat in the middle order as that is his preference. If not, he will open with Murali Vijay. At least for the first Test.

Q. Wouldn't Australia been better off with Maxwell than Henriques considering that its going to be hot and humid in Chennai? Ball always turns in Chennai. Military medium pace does not have a long life in Indian conditions! Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Henriques was picked over Maxwell based on what he did in the two tour matches, which is fine. He got the ball to reverse and was the most impressive of the pacers in Chennai. Australia are going with the player who did more with bat and ball. If the conditions are similar to those at the Guru Nanak Ground, Henriques won't be so easy to get away.

Q. Nathan Hauritz, Steven Smith and Jason Krejza. None in the Aussie side? any comments Asked by: Sandeep Rao

A. Hauritz took 13 wickets in five Sheffield Shield matches this season. Krejza managed five in three. I don't think either spinner is pushing for a recall. As for Smith - what about him? He's in the squad.

Q. I personally not happy with the selection. When there is a guy who averages 74 in domestics because he is 34 then why is Sachin playing. If we see long term planning this is really not happening. What difference did it make by dropping Sehwag and taking him in next series without any proving done. Asked by: Samuel

A. Sehwag is lucky to still have a place in the squad. Like I said already, Jaffer should have been in the squad. Critics will say that picking Jaffer is not a long-term preference, but the man has another two years in him. And that, considering how the Test team is shaping up, is enough to consider when you are talking of the future.

Q. Hi Jamie, If we have to analyze the loss against England, it was primarily due to poor team selection, where out of form players were give a chance. What's your take on the team against Australia? Asked by: Rakesh Jain

A. The defeat to England was about poor application, not selection. The batsman messed up against Swann and Panesar and the bowlers were poor, barring Ojha for most of the series. Losing Yadav was a big blow too. As for the squad for the first two Tests against Australia, as I have said I would rather have seen Jaffer in for Sehwag. Apart from that, where are the options? In the spin department? No. Pace? No.

Q. Seeing the state of Indian spinners don't you think we need a spinning coach in Kumble or Bedi just like England had in Mushtaq Ahmed otherwise we could be having another series loss at our hands Asked by: neeraj

A. We definitely need a spin coach, but more than that we need former India spinners and even overseas spinners to be hired to scout around the country, work with state teams and associations and the junior level, and hold camps at the NCA. A pool of ten spinners needs to be identified and worked with. Then sent overseas as a core to train in Australia, South Africa, etc.

Q. Who do you think will be dropped for the first test is it Harbhajan or R Ashwin? Asked by: Prashanth

A. You mean to ask who will be included. Harbhajan was dropped from the squad when England was here. He is looking for a recall. I think Ojha and Ashwin will be the spinners in Chennai.

Q. They say Stuart Mac Gill lost out due to being in the same decade of Shane Warne. Will the Aussies miss a well to do spinner? Asked by: Sandeep Rao

A. Surely, but Lyon isn't half bad.

Q. I think they will bury the ghost if they don't become complacent. Asked by: Carlton

A. And sort themselves out in the head, with the bat, ball, and in the field, Carlton:)

Q. Like India hired Bruce Reid in 2003 as bowling consultant. Should Australia hire legends like Kumble or Bedi during the tour to groom their spinners and teach them how to bowl in Indian conditions? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. If they see it as a priority, why not?

Q. I feel, Dhoni at his best (captain & a batsman) in handling the ODI team, but the same is not for test and T20..especially he is not strategically correct in TEST matches..whats your opinion on this? Asked by: venkatesh PG

A. Dhoni needs a break from keeping wickets and captaining in Tests. Let someone else like Saha (regarded as the best wicketkeeper in India) wear the gloves, or take a punt on someone like CM Gautam. But then the question has to be asked - does Dhoni command a place in the Test team when not captaining and 'keeping?

Q. Pattison has had an injury lay off and no previous experience playing in India? Wouldn't Mitchell Johnson who has done well in India in the past fared better? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Johnson is aware that he is down the pecking order, and that seems to be the plan for Australia. They have a proper rotation policy going on right now which obviously not everyone is happy with. But CA has decided to manage the workload of the pacers. Johnson came in when Pattinson was rested. He played the Sri Lanka series, Pattinson did not. Now its back to Pattinson to play, with Johnson getting a break.

Q. India is really banking on spinners. What if we are not capable of playing spin. As big guys like Dravid and Laxman were the best in the world. I fell Australia should be more attacking of making 2 front line spinners. As non of the new guys are good enough. Asked by: Samuel

A. Where are the attacking frontline spinners? They have gone in with a clear plan - attack with pace. They see it as an Indian weakness and have put faith in their strongest asset. Siddle, Starc and Pattinson are attacking bowlers.

Q. Warner,Clarke and Watson should get runs at some point in the series. How do you rate the rest of the batting? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Shaky.

Q. More than a year, I could not able to see a very big partnership for the Indian batsman...not many hundreds...not scoring heavily in Indian conditions too...When Indian batsman will overcome from this? Asked by: venkatesh PG

A. When they clear their heads and remember how to bat out sessions.

Q. Who do you think will win this series? How will be Vijay-Sehwag opening combo? Asked by: Srikar

A. It should go to India 2-1. If Sehwag keeps his place in the side as an opener, I think Vijay could feed off him.

Q. I think Sehwag should bat in the middle order as he can come in to a tiring Aussie attack and create mayhem. Asked by: Carlton

A. Ok.

Q. Ponting was severely criticised for the field he had set for Hauritz last time Oz were here, how do you see Clarke handling Lyon/Doherty? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Clarke is a smarter, more proactive captain than Ponting. I think he will handle Lyon well, give him the fields he wants.

Q. Hi man, What will be INDIAN playing XI in the first test match? Asked by: venkatesh

A. Ask that to Dhoni!

Q. England had an advantage of playing in India during November when the weather is cooler and Ranji season in its infancy. Come April the weather will be hotter and wickets worn out. Don't you think Oz are at a disadvantage? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. This is arguably the weakest Aussie side to tour India since Kim Hughes brought that bunch of cricketers out in 1979-80. They are at a disadvantage in terms of batting and spinning personnel. Conditions don't matter as much to touring sides anymore, due to the amount of cricket being played.

Q. Harbhajan should be preferred over Ashwin as he is having good record against Australia...And Ahswin also struggling to take wickets in Indian conditions too in test matches...Whats your opinion on this? Asked by: venkatesh PG, Chennai

A. Harbhajan did nothing when he got his chance against England and its obvious he has not evolved as an off-spinner. His wickets in the Irani Trophy were gifted, while Rahane was clearly not out. I would still prefer Ashwin for at least the Chennai Test.

Q. Don't you think Rahane deserves a break at 6 rather than Jadeja who is a modern day all-rounder who can neither bat or ball? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Not at 6. He should open.

Q. When Australia lost the Ashes one of the criticism was that Aussie bowling did not have a leader? Have they found a leader now? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. Peter Siddle.

Q. England won the test series this time as they got good spin combination (panesar & swan) which toiled INDIAN batsman..Australia is fully depending on PACE attack this time and how this series will be? Asked by: venkatesh

A. Australia's pace attack is far superior to India's. Siddle, Starc and Pattinson versus Ishant, Bhuvneshwar and Dinda is hardly a contest. Australia are banking on pace and it could prove a good move.

Q. What would be the deciding or impact factor on the results of series?

Asked by: vrijesh

A. How well the batsmen on either side bat.

Q. The last 2 seasons the wickets in Aus have been fast and assisted quicks. Even Sydney which used to be a turner favored seamers. Do you think this has compromised Aussies ability to play spin and will show up in this series? Asked by: Ramesh Narayanan

A. They do not have evolved players of spin like Hussey anymore, which is a blow. Watson too does is not regarded as a very good player of spin. Its not as much about the surfaces as much as natural talent and sheer hard work.

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