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Chappell praises Clarke & Co.

Calcutta: Former captain Ian Chappell feels that Australia are very close to becoming a cricketing powerhouse again, because they have an aggressive opening bowler and batsman and an imaginative captain to become unbeatable.

In his column published on Espncricinfo.com, the former great said, “Australia have surged on a tidal wave towards the top of the Test rankings and they possess some attributes that will make it difficult for opponents to stop that momentum.

“Michael Clarke said before the series that his attack was stronger than a very capable South African line-up, and in the end he was proved right. That’s one reason Australia are surging: A superb fast-bowling attack headed by the pace and aggression of Mitchell Johnson.

“The captain himself is another plus. Clarke has been far ahead of his opposition this summer Alastair Cook and Graeme Smith but he’s also a superior Test skipper to all the others, with his only challenger being the aggressively like-minded Brendon McCullum. Unfortunately for McCullum, New Zealand aren’t blessed with the talent of Australia.

“The other advantage Australia have over the contenders is David Warner. An explosively aggressive opener provides an enormous windfall for his team, with the main prize being that the opposition are wary before he has even faced a ball.”

However, the No. 3 slot is the only chink in Australia’s armour, feels Chappell.

“No. 3 is still a black hole and this will become more apparent if Warner’s form recedes. Australia won’t become a real powerhouse until they can unearth a dominant No. 3, and there doesn’t appear to be one with the potential in the pipeline.”

Chappell also has a word of advice for other Test playing nations. According to him, others must be wary of this rampaging Australian side.

“The other major Test nations must be concerned, because Australia’s style of play is suited not just to home conditions but also to those in South Africa and, to a lesser extent, England.”