x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The lessons India can learn from the Australian revival

Experience and practice, helped the new Australia come of age, and a model for revival the India selectors could well afford follow.

Ricky Ponting, right, hit 455 runs in four Tests, his best aggregate for a series since the 2006/07 Ashes.
Ricky Ponting, right, hit 455 runs in four Tests, his best aggregate for a series since the 2006/07 Ashes.

As India debate the future of their ageing superstars they might want to look at Australia's template before making any decisions.

Australia were the pre-eminent side in Test cricket when they lost the Ashes in 2005 and similar questions were being asked of Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Damien Martyn and even Glenn McGrath.

The selectors, however, kept faith and they whitewashed England in the 2006/07 Ashes before McGrath, Martyn, Justin Langer and Shane Warne gracefully exited the Test scene. Hayden and Gilchrist followed a bit later.

The mass exodus left the incoming youngsters with massive boots to fill and an experience vacuum, hence why the Aussie selectors resisted calls to send Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey into retirement despite the team losing an Ashes at home, getting bowled out for 47 in South Africa and being beaten by New Zealand in Hobart.

Just before the series against India, the Australians got together for a batting camp. They had to sacrifice family time during the Christmas break to work on their weakness against the swinging ball.

What did India do after their whitewash in England? They returned to the surreal world of franchise cricket for the Champions League Twenty20.

Ponting's 544 runs in the four Tests, his best aggregate for a series since the 576 he scored in the 2006/07 Ashes, has shown the wisdom of, as one writer puts it, giving your ageing star players one series too many rather than one too few. A snake shedding its skin needs the old layer till the new one comes through.

arizvi@thenational.ae