Back in 2007/8, Australia came to India after before a blisteringly controversial Test series to play what turned out to be an unbelievably tame seven-match ODI tournament. India lost 4-2 (with one game washed out), though it would have lost 5-1 were it not for an improbable partnership between Zaheer Khan and Murali Kartik (which ended with an ethical quandary about walking).
The current series has been far more entertaining. Back in 2007, the Australians had yet to be fully knocked off their pedestal, and they still a methodical way of dismantling opposition teams. It was a thing to behold, but not completely thrilling.
That’s all done with. If you look at the 2007 series stats, you’ll note Australia benefited largely from a solid batting line-up that has been subsequently shaken to the core. Symonds, Hayden, Clarke and Gilchrist were among the top 5 batsmen then, and all of them aren’t playing this series (and three of them won’t play internationally again). The new replacements are obviously handling themselves well (and Hussey, Ponting and Watson are in the top 5 in the 2009 series), but they’re clearly not as domineering as the 2007 foursome.
The worrying thing for India is how little it has changed. It’s been two years of “invest in the youth” strategy, and yet, the main players are still the veterans: Dhoni, Yuvraj, Tendulkar. Robin Uthappa is nowhere to be found; KD Karthik disappointed in 2007 (but may appear yet again in 2009); Suresh Raina has obvious potential but has yet to prove himself reliable; Rohit Sharma is gone, as is Irfan Pathan.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the current Indian outfit is better than the 2007 edition, but at this point, I wonder if Australia has proven better at finding and managing new talent. Let me know if I’ve gotten this completely wrong because I normally am the last person to give Australia anything by way of praise.
Just a clarification: “the unbelievably tame seven-match ODI tournament” was before “the blisteringly controversial Test series”.