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Let’s have a late Xmas in Australia.

by Gaurav Sethi

India has in the past tried their darnedest to beat Australia by playing better cricket. That’s old school. India must look no further than its surroundings to beat them – on Boxing Day, when the Indians step into the coliseum that is the MCG, they have to befriend the locals – and then, make them turn in on their very own.

If the Indians field first, big names like Sachin, Sehwag and even MSD should patrol the boundary – interaction with the crowds is key, as will signing hundreds of autograph books, a sign alone won’t do – make it personal, talk IPL contracts. Skipper MS must look to win over the rowdies, the drunks; if this means keeping at cow corner, so be it – it will be hugely innovative, yes, but more so a lasting bond with the upstarts will be forged.

Work on the Ponting sledges, make them penetrative, invoke Bhajji – if Ricky is neutralized in the first test, and still better, dropped after that, Australia as a nation will be deflated. They may even concede the series so as to not drop Ponting mid-series.

Play two spinners. Fewer quicks will breakdown this way.

The spinner(s) should wear Bhajji masks (circa 2001). India must acknowledge that it wasn’t Bhajji’s bowling that had the Aussies under the cosh – it was his obnoxious, prickly ways – and his in-the-face (and yes, his face too) demeanour that had a major part to play in the successes of 2001 etc

Sehwag and Gambhir should spend plenty of quality time together – that is the key to their wellbeing as openers. In the nets, instruct them to develop running-between-the-wicket skills. Keep an update on Sehwag’s hearing, Gambhir’s head, as also weddings in his household. Make him angry again. Tell him he’s ordinary like Bangladesh.

Let Dravid make a few speeches in the dressing room, that will keep him going. Employ ace communicators to inform Sachin that he has scored hundreds in the past, and the likelihood of him scoring another one, very soon, is not too remote. Let him also know that the Tendulkar Opus is one helluva book.

Let VVS Laxman be, he’s playing Australia.

As for Virat Kohli/Rohit Sharma – let it be known they’re lucky to play at number six, this is Cheteshwar Pujara’s spot.

The warm-up games are over, MSD, you can play now. Sarcasm is the only language MS speaks. MSD will be key to India’s success Down Under, if he clicks as a batsman, he clicks as captain, and India should win the series 2-0. The only way to make it click is to have MSD wear his CSK jersey under his India whites.

Zaheer Khan, for once, will have to last the whole damn tour. Umesh Yadav will have to be possessed by the policeman he wanted to be, lathi charge on the Aussies – should be weary of all those one-day variations, just bowl the cliché – good areas, boy.

Ishant Sharma should be prepared to bowl more than 5.3 overs. Greg Chappell should be allowed to make that inspirational speech to the Aussies on match eve. And the next day will be Christmas for the Indians.

First Published @Youth Connect

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