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New Roles, Responsibilities for Familiar Faces in India-Aus ODIs

India are expected to rotate their bowlers, especially the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.

Published
Cricket
4 min read
KL Rahul
i

After countless changes in schedules and administrative hurdles in midst of the coronavirus pandemic, two of world cricket’s biggest teams, India and Australia, take centrestage Down Under, and yes, crowds are allowed as well.

Foes turned friends, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, will take over the spotlight as always with the responsibility on the latter having increased due to the absence of premier opener Rohit Sharma, who loves playing Australia. While Smith has fired off a warning to the opposition bowlers, Kohli will want to leave his mark on the tour right from the word go since he will not be around in later stages.

India’s first series in the ODI Super League pits them against a familiar and formidable opposition, with a few selection headaches in the mix. However, for India, neither the ODI Super League nor fixing the combinations in the ODIs are top priority with two T20 World Cups before the ODI World Cup in 2023 but be that as it may, they have matters to iron out in New South Wales.

Hardik Pandya.
Hardik Pandya.
(Photo: Twitter/@hardikpandya7)

For India, the series represents a chance to test some of the newer players and allow some more to take more responsibility. Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul, newly appointed vice-captain, will have to stand tall with Kohli, who will have his own demons to counter against the very able leg break bowler Adam Zampa. The Australian has been in prime form this year in ODI cricket and has the distinction of having dismissed Kohli the most number (7) of times.

Further lower down the order, Hardik Pandya is likely to be trusted with the new role of playing as batsman only as he is unlikely to bowl given the nature of the back injury that he has recently recovered from. Hardik played that role with aplomb in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians and gave his team the explosive push at the back end of the innings. The focus will be on Shreyas Iyer as well as he’s not really had that much success against Australia.

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India are expected to rotate their bowlers, especially the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, both of whom are key parts of the Test squad too which opens the door for young Navdeep Saini, who has the knack of bowling fast consistently, to make his case for selection stronger.

But how much of a role will Kuldeep Yadav be trusted with remains to be seen. The left arm spinner, once a potent weapon, has fallen out of favour in recent months and Yuzvendra Chahal has taken over as the leading spinner. And Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round contributions also don’t help the situation for Yadav.

Similarly, Australia too have a few pieces of the puzzle to ponder about with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis and of course Steve Smith.

Smith has not been doing too well in the build up to the home summer and that has caused a wobble or two for the Australians. The last series where he scored a bagful of runs was against India in January, making 229 runs at 114.50. He believes he’s finally found out the glitch and that could spell danger for India as an in-form Smith makes Australia a very different proposition altogether.

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Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis
Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis
Image: Twitter

One expects Smith to come good sooner than later but what will worry Australia more is Maxwell, who had a torrid time in the IPL despite a couple of good performances against England shortly before that.

Along with Maxwell, another Australian batsman who might play a floating role will be Marcus Stoinis, someone the team is hoping can take over the responsibility at the back half of the innings. Stoinis was given a chance with the Delhi Capitals by Ricky Ponting and he flourished, the duo are at it again in the Australian camp.

If Stoinis and Maxwell fire, they add flexibility to the Australia batting which then allows the very able bowling attack to pile on the pressure.

There are 30 ODI Super League points up from grabs in the three games and while both sides would like it in their back pocket, the format in the current scenario is not the most important for either side.

But rarely has an India vs Australia contest let alone a series not been hotly contested. Beginning 27 November, the plethora of superstar cricketers will do all they can to walk away with the bragging rights, which is likely to result in a few high-octane contests as fans return to cricket grounds for the first time since March.

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Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.

(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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