Gavaskar: Different rules for Kohli, Natarajan

It’s been a nightmare of a tour so far for young Prithvi Shaw as he has struggled to come to terms with the bounce on the Australian pitches and sadly he has not shown the inclination to learn from his past mistakes.

Prithvi Shaw is bowled by Pat Cummins during day two of the First Test match between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval.   -  GETTY IMAGES

This is being written after a day, which, in June 1974, I thought would never come again. That day in 1974, we were bowled out for 42 by England. We had scored over 300 in the first innings in reply to England’s massive score of 652 and had been asked to follow on. The day was bleak and cold and there was a cloud cover which helped the bowlers to swing the ball both ways, crazily. Adelaide, on the other hand, was so hot that I remember wondering in the commentary how long the fast bowlers’ spell would be. Even four overs would have been too much. That said, when a bowler is getting wickets then there’s nothing that is going to stop him from bowling — be it heat or cold. So Cummins kept going, looking for his fifth wicket while Hazelwood had got his fiver at the other end. Like in 1974 there were some great deliveries that got the top order out and there it was — India’s lowest score in Test cricket, 36, which was six runs lesser than ours.

AUS vs IND: Cummins hoping for life in second Test wicket  

It’s been a nightmare of a tour so far for young Prithvi Shaw as he has struggled to come to terms with the bounce on the Australian pitches and sadly he has not shown the inclination to learn from his past mistakes. With his high back lift and the habit of pushing hard at the ball he is going to find it hard to score runs on surfaces where the ball moves and bounces. On pitches where the ball will come at stumps height, he will be hard to stop as that same high back lift will power the ball to the boundary. I thought selecting him despite his lack of runs in the warm-ups was a masterstroke as he could have got the team off to a rollicking start, but sadly that didn’t happen. He is only 20 so he has plenty of time to make the adjustments in his technique and give himself more of a chance overseas. If he does that then he can get the team off to a flying start.

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Australia has a good chance of beating India 4-0 - Ponting  

Ravichandran Ashwin bowled beautifully as the Aussie batsmen struggled to read him. The way he got Steve Smith out was a joy to behold. Smith was at the non-striker’s end when Ashwin bowled to Marnus Labuschagne and saw that all the deliveries were bowled around the middle and leg-stump. When Smith was on strike towards the end of that first over he was anticipating similar line and length. Instead he got the floater on the off-stump where he was squared up looking to play down the onside and the edge was gleefully snaffled by Ajinkya Rahane at first slip. It was deception at its best.

 

It was seen again a little later when the left-handed Travis Head came in to bat. Two deliveries were bowled flatter at his leg-guards where he attempted to flick the ball, but was frustrated at being cramped to do so. The next ball was slower and tossed up in the air as if it was the bowler trying to make amends for denying him room to move his arms and score runs, too. Head lost his head as he saw the chance to swing his arms and play the drive. Only the ball dipped at the last moment and the arms which were enjoying the freedom to move realised they could only move a little bit and before they could slow their progress the damage had been done. The bat went half forward and pushed the ball back for Ashwin to take the simplest of catches. It was the kind of dismissal that wily old fox Erapalli Prasanna would have been proud of.

AUS vs IND: Sydney remains preferred venue for third Test - CA  

For far too long Ashwin has suffered not for his bowling ability of which only the churlish will have doubts, but for his forthrightness and speaking his mind at meetings where most others just nod even if they don’t agree.

Any other country would welcome a bowler who has more than 350 Test wickets and not to forget four Test match centuries, too. However, if Ashwin doesn’t take heaps of wickets in one game he is invariably sidelined for the next one. That does not happen to established batsmen though. Even if they fail in one game they get another chance and another and another but for Ashwin the rules seem to be different.

Summer of 42 to humiliation in Adelaide - Engineer looks at the problems  

Another player who will wonder about the rules, but, of course, can’t make any noise about it as he is a newcomer. It is T. Natarajan. The left-arm yorker specialist who made an impressive debut in the T20 and had Hardik Pandya gallantly offering to share the man of the T20 series prize with him had become a father for the first time even as the IPL playoffs were going on. He was taken to Australia directly from UAE and then looking at his brilliant performances, he was asked to stay on for the Test series but not as a part of the team but as a net bowler. Imagine that. A match winner, albeit in another format, being asked to be a net bowler. He will thus return home only after the series ends in the third week of January and get to see his daughter for the first time then. And there is the captain going back after the first Test for the birth of his first child.

That’s Indian cricket. Different rules for different people. If you don’t believe me ask Ravi Ashwin and T. Natarajan.