He still believes that the Indian team will bounce back against Steve Smith’s Australia and end the series on a high note. However, the legendary cricketer and former Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, in a chat with CricketSoccer, expresses his view that Virat Kohli and his teammates must solve the riddle of Aussie spin attack.
Here are the excerpts:
CricketSoccer: You used to dominate spinners, especially the left-armers. What could be the way out for Indian batsmen against the Aussie spinners?
Sourav Ganguly: Look, both Steve O’Keefe and Nathan Lyon are very consistent with their line and length. They are getting success only because they are emphasizing on the basics. You have to give full credit to them. As for the Indian batting, they have to be aware of the strength and weakness of the Aussie spin attack. They must give respect to O’Keefe and Lyon and play accordingly.
CS: Why do you think O’Keefe and Lyon have become so effective?
SG: The key to their success is that they are able to create pressure from both the ends. They complement each other. O’Keefe and Lyon remind me of the English spin duo of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. In the 2012 test series in India, Panesar and Swann got success only because they were bowling with great understanding between themselves, maintaining the proper line and length all the time. They used to create pressure from both ends, much like what O’Keefe and Lyon are doing now. If you can restrain the flow of runs from both the ends, you can be a fatal bowler anywhere in the world.
CS: Do the current Indian batsmen lack the skill to play against quality spin bowling?
SG: I don’t think so. Virat Kohli and all the other boys can score runs against spinners. You should not draw any conclusion after failure in only 2-3 innings.
CS: But nobody is playing the sweep shot, which is the best weapon to tame the spinners…
SG: I agree that sweep shot is the best choice against the spinners. But there are not many left-handers in the Indian team. It’s very difficult for the right-handers to play a sweep shot against left-arm spinners like O’Keefe and that is one of the reasons behind O’Keefe’s success in the first test match. Had there been one or two more left-handers in the Indian team, the scenario would have been different.
CS: You have played against an Australian spin attack led by Shane Warne. How would you rate the current Aussie spin attack, comparing to the likes of Warne and others?
SG: I don’t believe in comparison. Again, I would say that O’Keefe and Lyon are looking dangerous because they are creating pressure from both ends. They are not giving any room to the batsmen to play their shots freely.
CS: What are the chances of Indian team in this series? They are already 0-1 down.
SG: I still believe India will come back very strong. I still think that India will win the series, overcoming all the odds. I will tell Kohli and his boys not to think much about the sessions you lost to Australia. Instead, think of those sessions you have performed well. Don’t tire yourselves with so much thought. Just keep it simple. You are playing against a quality side and you have to play better cricket to win.
CS: What is your take on the pitch controversy in the ongoing series?
SG: I don’t see any controversy. It was not that Pune wicket was unplayable. Such tracks are very much expected in the subcontinent where the spinners get help. Let’s not focus on the wicket. Rather, we should enjoy the rivalry between these two teams.