Mountains crop up a lot in metaphors. They’re forever being scaled, climbed or conquered. Steve Smith has come up with his own way to reach the summit of the mountain that is a Test tour of India though. “If we are able to topple that mountain, that’d be huge,” he said.
It’s an innovative approach certainly, but you’d have to say that mountains don’t immediately seem to lend themselves to being toppled. The word ‘topple’ conjures images of something top-heavy being tipped over. Mountains are constructed rather differently. Mountains are decidedly bottom-heavy.
If Steve Smith is going to topple the Test tour of India mountain, he’s got an awful lot of excavation ahead of him. Then again, sometimes people say they’ll move mountains to achieve something and this is far less than that. Smith’s plan would involve moving only a proportion of just one mountain.
Over the hill
If Pat Cummins’ team do experience success by following Smith’s strategy, they could bring home team captain Rohit Sharma tumbling down to the valley floor.
Following on from Virat Kohli’s unignorable stint in charge, Rohit’s leadership has been bizarrely easy to overlook. He’s missed three of the five Tests since he became captain as well as the three Tests leading up to the handover. Cricinfo’s Karthik Krishnaswamy points out that he’s sat out India’s last half dozen T20 internationals as well.
Rohit is clearly being saved for the biggest engagements – series such as this – but the injuries and rests have nevertheless been proliferating. Just how much authority can you maintain when you don’t actually ever seem to play cricket?
For a player of such high profile, it’s not even like he has a huge Test record to keep him buoyant. At the age of 35 (a year older than Kohli), he’s only made eight Test hundreds – two fewer than Paul Collingwood and less than a sixth of Sachin Tendulkar’s career tally.
Are we forgetting all that Rohit has achieved in other formats here? Yes, we are. Of course we are. And that’s precisely why he could do with adding a few more Test feats to his CV.
Former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy this week added to the long and rich history of Australians having a very specific concept of ‘fairness’ when it comes to Test pitches by predicting a win for the tourists on the kind of surface that he would deem acceptable.
Fair’s fair, Ian. As Ravi Shastri later responded, in trademark Ravi Shastri fashion: “You are speaking to an Indian here, who’s just been on two trips to Australia. I want the ball to turn from Day 1. From Day 1.”
The truth is the pitch will be the same for both teams and the one with R Ashwin will probably win.
You want to talk unfairness? Is one team having an Ashwin fair? Surely the whole point of playing is to identify and celebrate exactly these kinds of imbalances.
The first Test starts on Thursday at 4am UK time.
The easy way to follow India v Australia with us is by getting the King Cricket email.