Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and a team Down Under

Unless Australia can find real, bonafide options for positions four to seven – minus wherever Clarke bats – it's all looking rather Down Under for them, at least for the time being.

updated: March 25, 2013 13:05 IST
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For once, there was a touch of humility to India's post-4-0 Australia series celebrations. (Although it's likely the news channels have been painting a different picture. I haven't been watching, so I don't know.) The execrable TV ads that adopted the 'we'll show 'em' tack were put on the backburner. Part of the reason that the 'revenge' pitch was muted was probably due to the walloping India took when the Englishmen came calling earlier. And though Harbhajan Singh's pre-series statement of intent – "We'll teach them how we play cricket in India" – has been vindicated (through no major contribution of his on the field), the overall sense I get around cricket-town is one of relief.

India might have been on the cusp of transition when they went, and lost, to Australia 4-0. Certainly, the team that went to Australia was India's first-choice squad. You always pick your best squad, so long as there are no fitness and other such concerns. Now compare that team to the Australian touring party.

The Indian team in Australia did have Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan, as well as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, two men who were discarded, temporarily or otherwise, during the course of the just-concluded series. Look at the Australia team right now. Michael Clarke is not only the best cricketer in the team, he is also Australia's only world-class cricketer at the moment, conditions notwithstanding. Sure, Shane Watson is a bit of a one-day legend and David Warner has created his share of ripples and James Pattinson is regarded as a paceman with immense potential, but none of them are world-class Test players, not yet anyway.

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