CRICKET / Australian team sweats it out at the Ferozeshah Kotla
Clearly, the shoe is on the other foot.
For years, Australia made winning a habit. Annihilating the opposition with savage blows and leaving it to pick up the pieces.
Most teams would be beaten between the ears much ahead of the completion of a series. Having delivered body blows at will at the hapless rival, the Aussies would then enjoy a day away from the cricket field.
For a change, Wednesday saw the Indians taking a well-earned break from the routine net-session. Ahead of a fourth Test — a ‘dead’ rubber — starting on Friday, it was the Australian team sweating it out at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground to salvage some pride this week.
Still, there is one huge difference between the Australians and the teams from the region. Despite the fact that Australia seldom faces a downswing, its positive spirit and optimism remains undiminished.
For instance, opener Ed Cowan was the man chosen to face the questions from the media on Wednesday. In the given scenario where the team has struggled to put 11 men together, the possibility of skipper Michael Clarke missing the final Test looms large, the return of vice-captain Shane Watson and the availability of three other players following a one-match suspension, Cowan’s positive outlook reflects the typical non-cynical approach of an average Aussie.
“Certainly, there is no defeatist attitude in our dressing room. We are confident, as we have been in every Test, that we can win if we play as well as we possibly can.
“We haven’t played as well as we possibly can, partly due to the skills of the opposition and partly due to our own shortcoming.
“We know if we can put pressure on India for a long period of time we have a good chance of winning the Test match,” said a confident Cowan.
Non-committal on whether Clarke would miss his first Test due to fitness issues, Cowan said, “He (Clarke) is pretty confident (of playing) I guess because he is so familiar with it (back problem) and it is something that he deals with on a daily basis. He will be alright, I guess.”
Much has been said about the suspension of four players on the eve of the Mohali Test, but Cowan saw the brighter side, “The events in Mohali provided a bit of solidarity to the team. This is how we want to move forward, and if you are in, you are in; if you don’t want to be a part of it, then don’t be a part of it.”
In the context of Watson’s return, possibly as a stand-in captain, he said, “Shane wants to be a part of it. The team is really happy to have him back because he is a hell of a player. Shane is a good leader in his own right so it will be a good opportunity for him, if he gets it.”
On losing the services of Mitchell Starc due to injury, the opener said, “We have seen how much potential he has. James Pattinson is obviously available for selection for this Test and in the first two Tests, he was pretty close to our best bowler.
“We have Mitchell Johnson, a guy with 200 Test wickets to fill the gap.”