Close on the heels of a gruelling tour Down Under, India welcome Australia for a quick limited overs tour before the Indian Premier League kicks off next month. Starting from Sunday, February 24th, India take on Australia in two T20Is followed by a five-match ODI series which will go on till March 13th. Australia on the other hand are looking for payback after a thrashing in the ODI and Test series and drawing the recently concluded T20I series.
India’s squad for the series is largely indicative of the mindset of the team management and the selectors with regard to the direction in which they want to take the team leading into the World Cup. The Board of Cricket Control in India is aware of the significance of the series and look to optimise the team selection as much as possible. With a few spots still up for grabs, the following few days will see talented Indian players giving their all for the World Cup berth.
Australia will be desperate to get some wins under their wings too as they look to defend their title in England. Their ODI record has been ordinary with losses against South Africa and India casting doubt on their challenge for the World Cup, this year.
1st T20I 07.00pm February 24th, Sunday @ Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium, Visakhapatnam
2nd T20I 07.00pm February 27th, Wednesday @ M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
1st ODI 01.30pm March 02nd, Saturday @ Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
2nd ODI 01.30pm March 05th, Tuesday @ Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium, Nagpur
3rd ODI 01.30pm March 08th, Friday @ JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi
4th ODI 01.30pm March 10th, Sunday @ Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
5th ODI 01.30pm March 13th, Wednesday @ Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Twenty20 Internationals (Since 2007)
Total T20I – 18
India won – 11
Australia won – 6
No Result – 1
First Match: India won by 15 runs at Durban, 2nd Semifinal T20 World Cup, September 22nd, 2007
Last Match: 3rd T20I; India won by 6 wickets at Sydney Cricket Ground on November 25th, 2018
One Day Internationals (since 1980)
Total ODIs – 130
India won – 47
Australia won – 73
No Result – 10
First Match: India won by 66 runs at Melbourne, December 6th, 1980
Last Match: 3rd ODI; India won by 7 wickets at Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 18th, 2019
ODI – Australia – Peter Handscomb, India- Rohit Sharma
T20I – Australia- Glenn Maxwell, India – Shikhar Dhawan
ODI – Australia – Kane Richardson, India – Kuldeep Yadav
T20I – Australia – Adam Zampa, India – Jasprit Bumrah
ODI – Australia – Glenn Maxwell, India – Virat Kohli
T20I – Australia – Glenn Maxwell, India – Shikhar Dhawan
The five ODIs against Australia are the final ODIs for the Indian players after which they will feature in the IPL and then dive straight into the World Cup. This is why analysts are bound to read into the team selection more in case of India.
Australia still have an ODI series against Pakistan which gives them little more scope to chop and change. As it is, the need of the hour for the Australian team is to build a team rather than finalize it. The likes of Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja are among the probables but have still not cemented their place in the ODI setup.
The uncertainty regarding Steve Smith and David Warner has increased the confusion further. Although the two star players would be available from the 4th ODI against Pakistan, both are nursing elbow injuries – Smith’s more serious than Warner’s. Their is no surety about when they will be fully fit. This is why the Aussies would like to groom a couple of players in their place in case they do not get fit in time.
Among the bowlers, Nathan Coulter-Nile has been given a chance but has been suffering from vertigo. One of the most disappointing things for the team is that Mitchell Starc has suffered an injury just before the series and would not be available. However, it would also give an opportunity to the likes of Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff to further stake their claim for the World Cup spot.
This reduces the chances of Josh Hazlewood to make the cut. Pat Cummins remains their spearhead. Australia would desperately want opener and captain Aaron Finch to come back to form. What will boost their chances is the power of Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell in the middle order. Adam Zampa is more than likely to seal his spot as the first-choice spinner.
For India, the most interesting choice is dropping Dinesh Karthik because the team had been grooming him as the finisher for a long time and had also received rich dividends. However, to make some sense of the move, Rishabh Pant has been included in his place and the team management wants to give him game time.
However, there is little doubt in minds of many that Dinesh Karthik will make the World Cup squad. Vijay Shankar has also got a look in on the back of impressive performances in the T20Is against New Zealand. The core of the team has been retained.
Siddharth Kaul is an interesting pick who will fill in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the first two ODIs. This indicates that he is still in the scheme of things while Mohammed Siraj and Khaleel Ahmed have faced the axe.
India’s top three in Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli are back and would have a dress rehearsal before the WC. Ambati Rayudu will be slotted at number four while MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav will bat at five and six. With the power of Hardik Pandya at number seven, India can afford to play two spinners in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal which will add to the pace bowling duo of Jasprit Bumrah and either of Mohammed Shami or Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Mayank Markande has received his maiden T20I call-up while Bhuvneshwar and Kuldeep Yadav have been rested from the T20I series.
T20I: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Siddarth Kaul, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mayank Markande
1st and 2nd ODI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Ambati Rayudu, Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
3rd, 4th & 5th ODI: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), Ambati Rayudu, Lokesh Rahul, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
T20Is: Aaron Finch(c), Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, D Arcy Short, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Peter Handscomb, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa Australia
ODIs: Aaron Finch(c), Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, D Arcy Short, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Ashton Turner, Pat Cummins, Kane Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
Redemption for Finch and co?
Who is your Super 8?
Leagues up in the Lobby, Go get ’em champs!