Steve Waugh’s attempt at naming a new look XI for the SCG Test proves Australian cricket is at its lowest ebb, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly says.
Waugh revealed the batting line-up he believes the besieged Aussies should take into Sydney in an Instagram post on Monday, which did not include Aaron Finch.
In Waugh’s reshaped XI, Shaun Marsh would replace Finch as Marcus Harris’s opening partner, while Travis Head and Tim Paine would also be pushed up the order.
Marnus Labuschagne would return at six, moving Mitch Marsh to the top of the tail.
Ganguly didn’t offer an opinion on Waugh’s changes, but claimed the fact a former skipper was forced to attempt to “give direction” via Instagram showed “Australian cricket selection (was) at its lowest ever”.
Pat Cummins, who starred with bat and ball in a losing effort in Melbourne, remains at number eight in Waugh’s XI — a position he’s happy with.
“I am pretty happy at No.8,” Cummins said. “It is a bit easier when I walk in and the bowlers have already bowled a few spells and the ball is a bit older. It is a much tougher job at the top of the order.”
Australian coach Justin Langer suggested conditions will dictate the team but he isn’t sure what to expect in Sydney.
“We’re interested to see what we’re going to get in Sydney … it’s been a bit inconsistent,” Langer said.
“It was very flat (for India’s tour game) and it was very flat in the Sheffield Shield game there a few weeks ago.
“We certainly hope it’s not (flat). You want to see a contest between bat and ball.”
India will make at least one change after batsman Rohit Sharma returned home after the birth of his first child.
Sharma left Melbourne shortly after India’s 137-run victory in the third test, where the middle-order batsman made 63 not out in the first innings, as the tourists took a 2-1 series lead and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
The 31-year-old will return to Sydney on January 8 for the start of a three-match ODI series that follows the final Test.
All-rounder Hardik Pandya, Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay are the likely options to replace Sharma in the batting line-up as India seeks to complete its first series victory in Australia.
Offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin, with four test centuries, is another option to replace Sharma on the expected spin-friendly SCG pitch.
— with AP