There is hardly anything that has gone the Australia way in this Test series on Indian soil. With the series gone, the visitors’ are in danger of losing their in-form captain Michael Clarke to a back injury in the fourth and final Test beginning here on Friday.
If need be, Clarke will be replaced by Shane Watson, one of the four players to be dropped for indiscipline in Mohali.
Opener Ed Cowan, however, did his best on Wednesday to paint a rosy picture of the Australian dressing room which he said was happy to welcome vice-captain Watson, who had utilised his suspension to fly back home for personal reasons.
Cowan insisted Clarke was very much in contention for the Delhi Test even as he said the incidents in Mohali provided “a bit of solidarity” to the team.
“Firstly it is important to know that Michael is expected to play so at the moment Shane Watson isn’t the captain of the team. If that happened the team is very happy with that because he is the vice-captain of the tour. Shane is quite a good player and a good leader in his own right so it will be a good opportunity for him,” Cowan said after the
Australian team’s practice session at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday morning.
“I spoke to him (Clarke). He basically said it is a condition that he has got for a long time
and he has not missed a Test yet so he is not expecting to miss this. He will be alright I guess.”
Cowan, who is known for his insightful cricket columns, felt the team, despite the losing streak in India, has gained a lot in terms of development.
“There is no doubt if you look at the results that it has been a tough tour but I think the bigger picture in terms of development it has been a really positive.
“We have been able to get guys up to speed probably not quickly enough but we are improving. The guys feel as though the experience of playing in the sub-continent has been a really positive one for their game,” he said. “It is important to know that only four guys in the team played in India before this tour. At home you don’t face many spinners and the conditions don’t suit the spinners. I think we played spin a lot better in Mohali than in Hyderabad. I think we are not just improving quick enough to put pressure on the Indians for a long period of time.”
Shikhar Dhawan, who made a hurricane century on his debut at Mohali will be missing the match at his home ground and Cowan didn’t hold himself back from calling it a “great news” for Australia.
“He played like Don Bradman the other day. That was as good an innings as I have seen any from any player in the world,” he said.
The 30-year-old from New South Wales said there is no “defeatist attitude” in the dressing room despite the 0-3 scoreline.
“We know that if we can put pressure on India for a long period of time we have a good chance of winning the Test match,” he said.