Debasis Sen,Sydney: Former Australian batsman Simon Katich feel the discipline shown by the Indian batsmen has made the difference in the ensuing series. Katich, who is also the assistant coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders has been the most vocal among the former Australian cricketers in criticizing the likes of Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb.The former Australian opener in an exclusive chat with Xtra Time shared his thoughts on the historic series win by Kohli and his team.
XT: Simon, do you see a difference in attitude and belief between Kohli’s Indian team and the previous Indian sides to tour Australia?
Katich: Yeah look what we have seen is this Indian team is a team full of confidence with a lot of different options. They obviously got a very good fast bowling unit. A number of guys who have done well in test cricket have to sit in the sidelines, particularly Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has done well recently for India in test matches. And then you also got a good core of spinners along with Ashwin, who did not have a bigger role to play due to injury. Virat Kohli should be very pleased with the strength of his squad, not only the bowling group but also what he have at his disposal with the batting group. Injury to Prithwi Shaw saw the emergence of Mayank Agarwal . It looks like they have some decent players in years to come. Particularly young talents like Shubman Gill, who has been dominating the Ranji Trophy for Punjab.
XT: Is Kohli the kind of captain Australia needs at this point – he seems to have the qualities that Australia had in abundance in the 1990’s and 2000’s
Katich: Yeah, I think so because the style of cricket this Indian team wants to play is an attacking style of cricket and also know how to pull things back when they need to. Particularly in this series there has been times with the bat where they have to work hard for the runs and be a little defensive given the strength in the Australian attack. So, I think they have got their balance right and to be successful all over the world you need to have a strong bowling attack which can take 20 wickets in any conditions.
XT: What do you think Cheteshwar Pujara did differently this time compare to last time when he came to Australia?
Katich: Look it’s hard to compare. Obviously it was a different bowling attack and game situations on the previous tour. Tim Paine and his team haven’t put the same scoreboard pressure on the Indians as the previous Australian sides might have. I think what he (Pujara) has done so well on this trip was develop that upper cut against the short ball that goes over gully or point or over third man and that has forced the Australian bowlers to bowl to which is basically at the stumps so he can work it leg side and take minimal risk in terms of scoring his runs. I think what stood out was his ability to let the bowlers come to him. He has been very patient and prepared to bat for long periods of time and that’s eventually made the Australian bowlers down.
XT: How critical was Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling in this series and what did you like about him and the Indian bowling overall?
Katich: Jasprit Bumrah has been an amazing find for India. He’s obviously done well for India in the shorter format, but he has shown in this series and in the recent twelve months how good a test bowler he could become. He has got the pace and control and he’s also got the movement. I think he got such a good variety in terms of all the skills. The slower ball with which he deceived Shaun Marsh was excellent. He also got a good bumper and a yorker. He mixes his length well from over and around the wicket. He is an exciting prospect.
XT: Has Pant surprised you with his batting and keeping after a tough tour of England?
Katich: Look Rishabh Pant has certainly surprised me. I have seen him for a number of years now coming through the U19 system in India and also with the Delhi franchise in the IPL. He has certainly got a huge amount of talent and I loved the way he gone about it. He has tried to attack the Australian bowlers in this condition. He has been consistent with the bat and showed he can certainly do some damage to the opposition in that No 7 position.
XT: India’s bench strength delivered in this series. Would you say that was a key factor as well the difference between the two sides?
Katich: Look I think the biggest difference between the two sides in this series has been the discipline of the Indian batsmen. In terms how India gone about it, I think the Indians have gone in the right way. They were prepared to make Australia bowl a lot many overs. I think the Australian batsman has been very impatient at times. Their shot selection throughout the series has been awful, which has let them down.
XT: Where do you rank this victory in the annals of Indian cricket?
Katich: Look I think this will go down as the greatest victories of Indian cricket as a fact that they have never won a test series in Australia. I think it is a huge achievement. They have certainly come here well planned and have executed all those plans very well. As history suggests it is very difficult to win a series here in Australia and to achieve that is magnificent.