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   One thing that I find a little irritating is the Australian captain... (August 29, 1986)

One thing that I find a little irritating is the Australian captain and manager repeatedly saying the they have come to play cricket in India in order to build up a strong team to face England later in the year. As if the tour of India and playing against Kapil Dev and his men is little more man nets.

This kind of haughty attitude is something that only the Australians and English are capable of. During the Indian tour of England, despite the fact that India whipped them methodically and soundly the only concern of the England selectors seemed to be to experiment for the tour of Australia.

India to them is still a third-race cricketing nation, which may occasionally win these days, though that is not on its own merits or cricket ability but because of the faults in their own teams. And a tour by India or of India is a stop-gap arrangement, partly out of obligation to a developing cricketing obligation to a developing cricketing country and at best in order that the Australians and the English may put in a bit of practice and get ready for the main season.

I have been noticing this attitude repeatedly and improvement in Indian cricket has not changed things. If India beats England two-and-ahalf Tests out of there, it causes a mild surprise, nothing more. If Australians come here with the knowledge that India are going to beat them, they it is an incidental occurrence and in fact useful as it would prepare the Australians for the English.

The Australians and the English, long after a era of Bradman and Hammond, continue to look upon themselves as alternate world champions and matches between them as those for world championship. And all this despite the fact that the two weakest and least interesting teams in the world today are Australian and England, coming way behind the West Indies, India, Pakistan and New Zealand, in more or less that order.

I am also wondering whether it has been worth getting the Australians here, because there can be little competition in playing them. And the team is totally lacking in glamour, take out Border and there is not a single internationally-known cricketer among them. In fact, Bob Simpson, the only name cricketer among the lot, is not playing.

What I fail to understand is why we should take all this lying down. Or why our newspapers and cricket correspondents should headline Border’s observations that the Indian interlude will be good preparation ground for his young team for the matchers with England later in the year.

I think these Australians are a pushover and, the sooner we let them know, the better.

 
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