Jason Gillespie: Finding the right length will aid Indian seamers in Australia

Former fast bowler Gillespie feels Tim Paine’s Australian team will have the upper hand going into the four-match Test series against India.

Jason Gillespie...“A challenge for the Indian seamers will be to get their lengths right as soon as possible.”

Home advantage has always been a significant factor in cricket, and former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie feels Tim Paine’s men will have the upper hand going into the four-match Test series against India.

India’s tour of Australia will begin with three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) starting on November 27 in Sydney, followed by three Twenty20 Internationals and four Tests. The T20 series will begin at the Manuka Oval in Canberra on December 4.

In a chat with Sportstar, Gillespie also touches upon what India’s quick bowlers need to do to succeed Down Under.

A large part of the India contingent is coming to Australia directly from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Test skipper Tim Paine and a few others including Marnus Labuschagne have been playing four-day cricket. Does that give Australia an edge going into the Tests?

Australia has an advantage anyway because they are playing at home, much like how India have that slight advantage when they host anyone. Everyone talks about the transition from one format to another. Yes, there is a difference, but players can adjust and adapt their game quite quickly. Of course, it is not hurting Australia to have Test skipper Tim Paine, Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head playing in the Sheffield Shield; it certainly helps them. However, I don’t think that necessarily puts guys coming from IPL at a disadvantage... They will have time to adjust to the red Kookaburra cricket ball and change their mindset.

How does India’s fast-bowling attack compare with its previous battery of pacers?

They all bring their different ways of doing it (bowling fast). I think the Indian pace attack now is as good as they’ve had in a long time. That’s no disrespect to the guys who came before them. But they are a fine bunch now. (Jasprit) Bumrah is going to be a superstar once his career finishes. He will go down as one of India’s greatest in all three forms of the game. There’s no doubt about that. (Mohammed) Shami has been excellent. Ishant Sharma has shown what an adaptable player he is. He has had a few ups and downs but has shown real resilience. He is always trying to better himself. India should be proud of how he has stuck to his task and found ways to reinvent himself. And then you’ve got other guys like Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Bhuvi is injured at the moment. Hopefully, he will be fit soon. Umesh Yadav has added a yard of pace, hasn’t he?

What a wonderful bowler (Javagal) Srinath was. Probably knocked me over on a few occasions (smiles)... Zaheer Khan, too, brought something different to the Indian seam attack. [It’s] difficult to compare eras absolutely, but the biggest difference between the pace attacks (then and now) has been the depth. I am not sure if in the past they’ve (India) had quite as much depth as they have now.

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What could be the biggest challenge faced by the Indian seamers during the four Tests?

The team that gets the length of the delivery right will have an advantage. Because sometimes touring teams, when they come to Australia, take a little while to find the right lengths. They see the bounce and carry and tend to bowl short. A challenge for the Indian seamers will be to get their lengths right as soon as possible.

Your thoughts on Tim Paine, the leader? He was handed Australia’s Test captaincy at a very tumultuous period.

Tim Paine has been fantastic. He was given leadership at a difficult time in Australian cricket, and he has led the side wonderfully well. The thing that will help his captaincy now is the return of Steve Smith and David Warner in the Test squad – two very experienced players to lean on and seek advice from. Paine has grown in that role. I don’t know how long he is going to remain the captain, but he has led from the front – his ’keeping has been fantastic, and his batting has improved as well – he got a hundred for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield. So, I am looking forward to how he goes.

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Who, in your opinion, should be Australia’s next Test captain?

When the whole ball-tampering incident happened in Cape Town, I didn’t think Steve Smith would captain Australia again. That said, I have softened my stance on that upon reflection. These guys have paid a bigger price than anyone else in the history of the game had to pay for an offence like that. It’s almost like you do the crime, you do the time, and wipe the slate clean. Steve Smith is a natural leader, and if he is appointed Test captain after Tim Paine, I wouldn’t be upset about that. There are other options available, like Pat Cummins. Could a fast bowler do that role (of captaincy)? It’s traditionally not the done thing... If fast bowlers are given captaincy roles, they tend to either over-bowl or under-bowl themselves. I feel we should leave the bowlers be the bowlers... I think a batsman or a ’keeper should take the captaincy reins. That said, I am not ruling out the possibility of Cummins taking over the role. Travis Head is another option; he has been captaining South Australia since the age of 20 – he is a vastly experienced leader.

India's tour of Australia will be telecast live from 27th November, 8.00 am, on Sony Ten 1, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Six channels.

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