Former Australian captain Allan Border was at the Vibrant Gujarat summit on Saturday as part of an Australian delegation. In a chat with The Indian Express he talks about why India’s first win on Australian soil was unique, the value of MS Dhoni playing the World Cup and why the suspension of KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya is a bit harsh. Excerpts.
On India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia
You can look at different excuses (for Australia’s loss) but the bottom line is India played better. The most interesting thing for me was India beat Australia with fast-bowling, which is against the normal run of play. Normally, you beat us with spinners here and we beat you with fast-bowlers in Australia. India had a very good side. (Cheteshwar) Pujara had quite an incredible series with the bat and the rest of the batting side worked around him. When it came to fast-bowling, (Jasprit) Bumrah was particularly outstanding along with Mohammad Shami.
On Dhoni in the ODI setup
He was a bit rusty earlier but he finished off the series fantastically. He is a class player and he has shown that he has still got what it takes. His experience will be invaluable for the World Cup. There are lot of young pretenders around but he still shows who’s the boss.
On suspension of Rahul and Pandya
I didn’t know quite what to make of it because it seemed fairly harmless (comments). I haven’t seen the episode, just read reports about it. It did seem little inappropriate what they were talking about but I think the ban was a bit over the top. In this age of social media, things just go out of hand. I feel sorry for the young blokes, they’ve learnt a hard lesson. I think young sportsmen in this day and age, I suppose need to be media-trained because the slightest little thing can be blown out of proportion. What goes on social media, doesn’t have to be necessarily the absolute 100% truth. Sometimes it just grows legs on all sides and goes off on all different tangents. So I guess young athletes need to be mindful of that. The phenomenon of social media, has its good parts but also its negatives. But yes, I think they’ve learnt their lesson.
On the IPL
I call IPL the second revolution in cricket after Kerry Packer. It has taken off so much and twenty20 has become a huge sport. It perhaps takes a little bit from the game but it’s more viewer friendly, attracting a lot more women viewers and many have started watching the sport — who otherwise don’t like cricket due to its earlier long-form version. But I do worry for the game. Certainly for Test matches. It’s a hard-sell now. But I think Virat Kohli is great for Test cricket. He is modern India and still loves the game. He is good at Twenty20 cricket and also understands the history of the game. He wants his place in history and he wants to match himself against Tendulkar and Gavaskar and Lara. While he is there, Test cricket is in safe hands. But I worry about the next generation.