Sydney: Legendary Ian Chappell believes Virat Kohli’s departure after the first India-Australia test next month will leave a “big hole” in the lineup of visitors, creating a selection dilemma that could ultimately decide the direction of the series.
Kohli will return home after the first Adelaide Test from December 17 to 21, to welcome his first child. Chappell, 77, believes the situation provides a perfect opportunity for young Indian hitters to show off their skills.
“It creates both a big hole in the Indian batting order and an opportunity for one of their talented young players to make a name for himself,” Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNcricinfo.com.
“What was already shaping up to be an exciting brawl now has the added stimulus of crucial selection decisions. The result may well come down to who is the bravest group of selectors.”
Stressing the importance of making correct selection choices, Chappell voted for Will Pucovski rather than a different colored Joe Burns to partner David Warner at the opening of the Australian slot.
He differed with Australian coach Justin Langer, who supported Burns. Chappell said the selection should always be made on the basis of current form.
“… I was taken aback by the Australian coach’s summons to choose between incumbent Joe Burns and rising star Will Pucovski for the post of opening partner of David Warner.
“… you shouldn’t overestimate the value of the partnership. Last summer Burns’ contributions amounted to a total of 256 races at an average of 32 with two half centuries. That’s a player’s performance. below average test rate, “said the former Australian skipper.
“Pucovski took a hammer to the entrance by making six centuries at the shield level, including three doubles; two of those double-hundreds have come this season,” he added.
Chappell believes India will have an advantage over hosts in terms of preparedness during COVID-19 times.
“This summer’s chaotic and pandemic Australian cricket schedule could benefit India in its quest to repeat the series victory of the last tour.
“India’s imposed lockdown period – with authorized training – will give the team more time to acclimate to Australian conditions than the rushed pre-test schedule that touring teams normally experience,” a- he declared.
The extra training time while in quarantine here will help visitors acclimatize to Australian conditions, Chappell said.
“… if the Indian selectors have done their job correctly, the batsmen who are currently undergoing Sydney’s lockdown training will become familiar with the necessary requirements on the inflatable pitches rather than being confused by the experience.”
India’s Down Under Tour kicks off with three ODIs in Sydney on November 27, followed by as many T20 Internationals and the highly anticipated four-match test run.
The Indians are currently undergoing a two-week quarantine period after arriving here on November 13, but Kohli and his men have been allowed to train by the NSW government while in isolation.