Cricket

How India and Australia compare in SWOT

In hot form: Virat Kohli has been playing high-velocity, fire-brand cricket and dousing the same will be on top of the Aussies’ wish-list.

In hot form: Virat Kohli has been playing high-velocity, fire-brand cricket and dousing the same will be on top of the Aussies’ wish-list.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

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An analysis which answers several critical questions in the context of the ODI series

Dishing out winning cricket is a lot about playing to your strengths, ironing out weaknesses, grabbing opportunities and neutralising threats.

Ahead of the India-Australia ODI series opener at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday, a SWOT analysis of the two teams answers several critical questions.

INDIA

Strengths: In a line-up of stroke-makers, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and M.S. Dhoni are game-changers. This side can put runs on the board or chase down totals. Jasprit Bumrah’s toe-crushers and changes in pace can dent line-ups. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav can both contain and strike. The fast and skiddy Mohammed Shami adds depth to the pace ranks.

Weaknesses: The in-form southpaw Shikhar Dhawan’s absence from the side for the first three matches makes the line-up from the top to the lower middle-order entirely right-handed. The batting lacks the left-right combinations that can put bowlers off line and rhythm. The absence of the spin duo R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja — both have been rested — leaves this department rather short of experience. The pace attack lacks a left-armer who can lend variety, and the spin combination is without a regular off-spinner.

Opportunities: The team has belief and momentum and has a chance now to beat Australia ranked one slot above it at No. 2 in the ICC ODI rankings. On the road to the 2019 World Cup, the selectors can look at several cricketers in pressure situations of a tough series.

Threats: If the surface assists bowlers, this line-up is prone to collapses. Pat Cummins represents a clear and present danger with his air-speed, bounce and hostility. Then there is always the chance of the Indian bowlers running into someone like the heavy-hitting James Faulkner down the order.

AUSTRALIA

Strengths: With his bat-speed and attacking style, the left-handed David Warner is a feared adversary at the top of the order. Skipper Steve Smith, a run-machine, has a particular liking for the Indian bowling. And Glenn Maxwell can tear into attacks. Crucially, most Aussie cricketers have the Indian experience after playing in the IPL. The side has several multi-dimensional cricketers, bats deep and is an outstanding fielding unit.

Weaknesses: The absence of injured pace spearheads Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood leaves the attack too dependent on Cummins for firepower. Starc, in particular, is impossible to replace both at the beginning of the innings and the death. And the fitness concerns of power-hitter Aaron Finch means Australia is without a regular opening partner for Warner. The batting appears to rely too much on Warner and Smith for stability and needs additional meat in the middle-order. This side has often lost wickets in bunches. The spin attack — it’s intriguing why the Aussies continue to overlook its best spinner Nathan Lyon for the ODIs — appears to lack bite although left-arm spinner Ashton Agar could be handy against a bunch of right-handed batsmen.

Opportunities: Simply put, there is a chance to beat India in India, get closer to the No. 1 spot occupied by South Africa, and find cricketers with the right temperament and skill set. India has been a place where Australia, in the past, has built sides for the future.

Threats: The Indian wrist-spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal could harry the Aussie batsmen. In the decisive Test of the engrossing Test series last season in Dharamshala, the Aussies found it difficult to pick Kuldeep’s left-arm wrist spin. There are times when too much aggression creeps in, the team descends into bad behaviour, and loses focus. This has happened before to the Aussies in India.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:14:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/how-india-and-australia-compare-in-swot/article19694084.ece

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