Oct 3, 2008

Sport - Cricket;Final Fling for Fab 5 says Border

Former Australia captain says selectors’ decision to go with experience could backfireMELBOURNE: : Former Australian captain Allan Border does not consider picking five players on the wrong side of 30 in the Indian squad to play against Australia a wise decision but said the selectors might be giving the seniors one last opportunity to perform and exit with a bang.“You look at that squad, you talk about Dad’s Army, the Australians, that’s a very, very old Indian side,” Border said referring to the inclusion of Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman in the Indian 15-member squad. “They (the selectors) want all the experienced guys there, and their hard heads, and I’d say this will be the final fling for that group of players. I get the feeling that this is the final frontier for these guys.They want to play Australia for the last time in their own country, and go out with a bang. I think the selectors are saying ‘we’ll go with the hard heads one last time and we can’t be held accountable if we throw some young fellas in there and they get beaten ... if they’re unsuccessful, they’re quite justified in changing,” Border told Foxsports.Border said personally he would have preferred more youngsters in the team but would not outright criticise the selectors for picking the seniors.“The Indian selectors are just going with their tried-and-tested performers, particularly against Australia. India will need to move on with younger players shortly. You would have liked to have seen some more young names like Subramaniam Badrinath thrown in there with potential to make the starting line-up, but not to be. But, it’s hard to make a judgement on his selection...I’m always reluctant to hammer champions, even if they are aging a fraction, because they’re always likely to come up with something special. But my gut feel is I’d have liked to have seen some younger players in there,” said the legendary batsman who did not have the luxury to win a series in India.Ganguly has an average of 31.73 in 20 Tests against Australia with just one century but Border warned the Aussies not to take the former Indian captain lightly. “They’ve got these aging stars, is that a good or bad thing. If (Australia) get on top of them in the early exchanges, it could throw the whole thing into chaos, so I’d say Sourav’s selection is a good thing for the Australians. “But the reverse is also true because the aging stars might hold something special for one final fling, and they become difficult to play against. Particularly Sourav.“He’s been struggling for his best form but he has a liking for the Aussies and really taking the fight to them. His stats might not back that up, but he really likes the conflict of a series against Australia,” he said. Border feels that Australia will have to depend more on their pace attack if they want to win the series as the spin department has been an ‘Achilles heel’ for the visitors.“Australia’s strength is in the pace attack. If we have a potential problem, it’s in the spin-bowling ranks. Bryce McGain has already been ruled out ... throw Jason Krejza in there, off-spinner in India, even Shane Warne, one of the greatest ever, if he had an Achilles heel it was bowling in India.“It’s a tough ask, but Krejza’s a little bit different to most. He’s an attacking bowler, he gives the ball a real rip, and he might be just the difference we need. We’re also going to need Michael Clarke to bowl a few overs. That’ll be interesting to see how that pans out.”

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