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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.

Updated
Cricket
4 min read
 Hardik Pandya returns to the India side for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup.
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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.

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India led by Virat Kohli will have their task cut out against an Australian side that does not give away an inch.

We take a look at five players for whom the Australia series is extremely key.

1. KL Rahul

KL Rahul 
KL Rahul 
(Photo: PTI)

India’s new vice-captain and wicket-keeper batsman is taking on three big roles in the series. For the Karnataka man, keeping and batting in the India colours has proved to be a fantastic experience as he has been in good touch. After a good IPL, this is KL Rahul’s big chance to capitalise on what he says is his longest run in the ODI squad.

And with the absence of Rohit Sharma, the responsibility on Rahul is a lot more as he is likely to open the innings with Shikhar Dhawan. India will hope his recent form, since December 2019, does not desert him at this crucial juncture.

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2. Hardik Pandya

 Hardik Pandya returns to the India side for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup.
Hardik Pandya returns to the India side for the first time since the 2019 ODI World Cup.
(Photo: AP)

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. Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal picked up four wickets in India’s ICC World Cup match against South Africa.
Yuzvendra Chahal picked up four wickets in India’s ICC World Cup match against South Africa.
(Photo: AP)

One of India’s most potent weapons in the bowling department, Yuzvendra Chahal has been in fine form and also has happy memories of playing against Australia. Last time in the ODI series, he bowled a crucial spell and snared 6/42 in the final game in Melbourne.

His form has not dropped off either and after a good IPL, Kohli will need him to win the battle against Adam Zampa. With Kuldeep Yadav woefully out of form, there is plenty of responsibility on Chahal.

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4. Navdeep Saini

Navdeep Saini is one of the young pace bowlers looking to pin down a spot in the team.
Navdeep Saini is one of the young pace bowlers looking to pin down a spot in the team.
(Photo: AP)

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

India’s Mayank Agarwal in action. 
India’s Mayank Agarwal in action. 
(Image: Twitter)

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.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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