5 Indian Players to Watch in ODI Series Against Australia
India will be playing three ODIs and three T20Is before the four-match Test series commences.
After a gruelling IPL 2020 in UAE, the Indian cricket team’s first assignment since the coronavirus pandemic broke out is the tour of Australia. India will be playing three ODIs and three T20Is before the four-match Test series commences.
The first two ODIs and the last two T20Is will be played in Sydney while the other two games will be played in Canberra.
Before the IPL began, Australia played ODI World champions England in a three-match ODI series and beat them 2-1. At home now, Australia will look to continue their good form against the visiting Indian side who are without ace opener Rohit Sharma for the first half of the tour.
India led by Virat Kohli will have their task cut out against an Australian side that does not give away an inch. While the likes of Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Shikhar Dhawan and other senior pros will be expected to pull their weight, there’s a chance for some younger players to nail down their spot in the ODI side.
We take a look at five players for whom the Australia series is extremely key.
1. Shubman Gill
The young batsman had played a couple of games in New Zealand at one down but is likely to open against Australia given that Rohit Sharma is unavailable. Gill has continuously shown that he has a stable head on his shoulders and is a quick learner.
Having waited it out for a while longer than he would have liked, this is Gill’s chance to make his case stronger against a difficult bowling attack. Gill, who started off the IPL nicely, lost momentum, as did most of the KKR side, and will be looking to get back to scoring bagfuls of runs like he has in domestic cricket. With his steady approach to the innings, one expects the youngster to flourish in ODIs as it affords him the time to pace himself.
A good performance will give the likes of Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri quite a headache in terms of selection, especially considering that Prithvi Shaw is also not in the squad.
2. Hardik Pandya
When fit, Hardik is one of India’s most valued assets in white-ball cricket. The all-rounder’s explosive abilities with the bat is unmatched in the set-up and him being available to bowl gives the team more options to work with.
However, Pandya is coming back to the scheme of things after a long injury layoff and last played an ODI in 2019 when India lost to New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final. While he’s had a good IPL with the bat (281 runs at a strike rate of 179), Hardik has not bowled.
It is highly unlikely that he will be dropped immediately if he does not have a good game but this ODI series will be a stern test for him on return. For India’s sake, it is important that Hardik’s comeback is a good one as it helps keep the team settled.
3. Kuldeep Yadav
The talented left arm wrist spinner has a lot to do if he wants to impress the Indian team’s think tank. One of the important players for Kohli, an in-form Kuldeep can wreak havoc and India would definitely want that back. Along with Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep had formed a very successful partnership but has been terribly out of form.
In his last four ODIs, he’s taken only five wickets and has conceded more than 50 runs on every occasion, with three of those instances being against Australia earlier in the year. Even in the IPL, he played only five games and picked up just the one wicket.
Against Australia, it is a golden chance to get back his confidence and arrest the slump in the graph.
4. Navdeep Saini
The speedster has shown an ability to bowl fast and accurately in the death overs, and with Bumrah and Mohammed Shami can prove to be quite a handful.
Saini’s played only five ODIs and has made it amply clear more than once that he intends to bowl fast. As the third seamer, Saini has quite the act to follow with Bumrah and Shami ahead of him.
The Delhi pacer did not have the best IPL and picked only 6 wickets in 13 games this year and will want to get back his form as he looks to pin down a berth in the side, especially given the emergence of some younger fast bowlers thanks to the IPL.
5. Mayank Agarwal
The Karnataka batsman’s last few outings in the India colours did not produce too many runs. In three games against New Zealand, he scored 32 (debut), 3 and 1 at the top of the order.
Mayank goes to Australia with very happy memories of his debut in Tests in the 2018 tour and will need some of that form if India are to put up a big score against the strong opposition.
While he’s made his mark in the red-ball arena, Mayank can make a strong case for his spot in the ODI side. His domestic performances in white-ball cricket have been good and he’s had a good IPL too, scoring 424 runs in 11 games with a century and two fifties to his name.
He has the ability to do well and a good performance will help keep him in the mix for ODI cricket.
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