While many of his former colleagues have written off the touring Indian team’s chances of staging a comeback in the Test series after their demoralising loss in Adelaide, former Australian captain Mark Taylor though isn’t ready to take the embattled Team India lightly, citing the presence of seasoned campaigners like Pujara and Rahane to suggest they could still find a way back in the series.
“India’s best chance is to put runs on the board. They’ve still got some very fine players. Obviously (Virat) Kohli leaves a big hole in terms of batting and leadership, but they’ve still got (Cheteshwar) Pujara and (Ajinkya) Rahane,” Taylor told ‘Wide World of Sports’.
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Taylor, who captained Australia to the final of the 1996 ICC World Cup, is one of only four men to have led the Aussies in 50 or more Test matches. He feels India’s bowlers have it in them to pick wickets but need the batsmen to put up big runs on the board.
“If they put runs on the board, they’ve got the bowling attack to take 10 wickets. If India have runs to play with, their bowlers can do the job.”
Just like Indian captain Virat Kohli and his stand-in Ajinkya Rahane had said earlier, Taylor too believes India were done in by just one hour of poor cricket in Adelaide and he believes the key for them would be to bounce back on the first day at MCG.
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“India can’t let one bad innings define their tour. If you put the Adelaide match into perspective, they probably won the first two days. Obviously, they got belted on the third, but you’re allowed to have one bad day. The key will be to see how they bounce back.
“I think day one in Melbourne is absolutely crucial for India’s chances in the series,” he added.
Taylor opined that India will miss Kohli’s leadership as drives the team with his infectious energy and that is something Rahane will have to be conscious of.
“I think it’s certainly going to be tougher for them to bounce back without Kohli, obviously they’ve lost an outstanding batsman. But the bigger hole to fill is his leadership, and the drive he gives the side,” he said.
“That will be the area that Rahane and the team management will have to be conscious of, and I’m sure they will be.
“They’ll have been working hard, firstly to put Adelaide behind them, and secondly to make sure they hit the ground running on Boxing Day,” Taylor added.