Convention vs wisdom
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There's an interesting bit of trivia in the India-Australia Test itinerary. Not quite by design, since BCCI has a firm rotational policy, the venues for the series are the home grounds of India's top four bowlers. It's said that familiarity to conditions and the adrenaline rush of local support can inspire a bowler to raise the bar. That certainly was the case during the first Test.
Ravichandran Ashwin, after Day One at Chennai, spoke about how the Chepauk air speaks to him. It's because he breathed it when he first fell in love with the game as a teenager. Similar philosophical conversations can be expected when Pragyan Ojha is at Hyderabad for the second Test, Harbhajan Singh swaggers onto the Mohali turf for the third and Ishant Sharma runs in at the Kotla for the final duel of the series. Since 'home advantage' has been seen a decisive factor in this series, the effectiveness of a local bowler on a pitch that has seen him grow and rise to lofty heights can't be overlooked.
In case Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind coincidence, he will need to break a few conventions and not let the past cloud his decision. Retaining the winning combination is a temptation too hard to resist for captains. Leading 1-0 in the series, Dhoni needs to pick the best XI that will be most effective on the pitch here rather than sticking to the winning XI from the previous game held about 10 hours away.
One reason for the captain's reluctance for change could his experience from the previous series. After winning the first Test against England during the last home series, Dhoni was forced to alter the playing XI since pacer Umesh Yadav was injured. So after the success with a two pacers, two spinners combination at Motera, Dhoni opted for three spinners and one pacer in the bowling unit at Wankhede. The move backfired. India went on to lose the Test and the series.
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