India Vs Australia – Series Preview

India Vs Australia – Series Preview

300 days. That’s how long it has been since we last saw our national team don the classic blue with the ‘India’ on the front in big bold characters. And it looks like we will have to wait some more to see that, because the jersey that India will be playing with in this series seems to represent a country called Byju’s with a firm called India sponsoring it.

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T Natarajan will proudly represent his country of Byju’s against Australia

Jokes aside, this series is exactly what the doctor ordered after the excruciatingly painful 8-9 months with such little international cricket. It will be an entire buffet table, starting with a welcome change of pace in the ODIs, then moving on to the T20s to give RR fans PTSD, and finally culminating in the biggest series of this year, the Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It is going to be a cracker of a summer (for the Aussies) and quality cricket is a guarantee.

Oh, and fans will be back in the stadium.

In this blog, I will be previewing the ODI series, and how both the teams may stack up tomorrow.

Australia

Predicted Lineup

  1. David Warner
  2. Aaron Finch (c)
  3. Steve Smith
  4. Marnus Labuschagne
  5. Marcus Stoinis
  6. Alex Carey (wk)
  7. Glenn Maxwell
  8. Pat Cummins
  9. Mitchell Starc
  10. Josh Hazlewood
  11. Adam Zampa

Australia will enter the game as clear favourites tomorrow. Their lineup is just far superior to India’s. Firstly, they do not have any injuries to major players. They will be able to field their first-choice 11. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with India who will be missing the services of Rohit Sharma (rant coming soon), arguably their most important limited-overs batsman.

Stoinis, Maxwell And Carey To Represent Australia In Gymnastics

The first thing that strikes you about this Australian side is their flexibility, especially in the lower order. They have proper batsmen all the way till No.7. This makes it easy for them to make quick decisions about the batting order based on the game situation. For example, if the Top 4 have given them an exceptional start, and there are some 20 overs left, they can easily send in Glenn Maxwell or Marcus Stoinis to go and give it a whack. If there’s been a collapse at the top, Alex Carey can be promoted up the order to try and stabilise things. And heaven knows Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc can swing a bat too, so if they’re in a crunch situation, they can count on them to give it their all.

David is the Goliath in this partnership

While the lower order looks terrific, the real hero has to be the top order. And some top order at that. David Warner and Aaron Finch will open the innings – Talk about starting strong. This is definitely an excellent opening partnership, but there is a bit of a concern. David Warner is an evergreen superstar, and he’s coming off a decent IPL season too. But the same can’t really be said about Aaron Finch. He had failure after failure after failure opening for RCB, and the situation reached the level where he had to be dropped for Joshua Phillipe. Imagine that – the literal captain of the Australian limited-overs team being benched for a 20-year old Australian who isn’t even a part of Australia’s limited-overs squad, let alone their playing 11! It’s safe to say that the captain is going through a rough patch of form, and will be the biggest concern for Australia, going into this series.

Labuschmith

Labuschmith in full force

Moving on to Numbers 3 and 4, we have possibly the biggest bromance in the cricketing world after Stoinis-Zampa, it’s Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne. The two form one of the best middle orders inn world cricket. Steve Smith is just Steve Smith, there’s no need to give any reasoning as to why he will be Australia’s biggest trump card in this series. He isn’t in the GOAT debate for nothing. Marnus Labuschagne, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise for the Aussies last Ashes when England studied for Smith but Labuschagne came out of syllabus. He took the world by storm ever since he walked out as a concussion substitute for Smith, and hasn’t looked back since, having cemented his place in the ODI team too since then.

The Holy Trifecta Of Pace

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The golden pace trio

The batting is great. But when you think Australia, what do you really think? The pace. The pace trio. Cummins-Starc-Hazlewood. Honestly, if not for this trio, Australia might not have had such a grotesque advantage. Their 30 overs will be virtually unplayable for inexperienced or out-of-touch batsmen. The opening spell is bound to yield at least one or two wickets for Australia, with such an attack. India will thank their stars if they can make it 10 or 15 overs without losing a wicket.

The not-so-weak links

The trio will get support from the lone spinner Adam Zampa, while part-timers Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell will jointly share the responsibility of the 5th bowler. If Finch is feeling cheeky, he might even use Marnus Labuschagne for a couple of overs.         The overs by these bowlers will be where India will have to do the brunt of their scoring. It won’t be easy, especially considering Adam Zampa’s excellent record against Virat Kohli and other Indian batsmen, but that’s just what needs to happen for India to have a shot at victory.

India

Predicted Lineup

  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  2. Mayank Agarwal
  3. Virat Kohli
  4. Shreyas Iyer
  5. KL Rahul
  6. Hardik Pandya
  7. Ravindra Jadeja
  8. Mohammad Shami
  9. Yuzvendra Chahal
  10. Jasprit Bumrah
  11. Navdeep Saini

Rohit Sharma Injury Saga Rant – Intoduction

Where Australia have clarity, we have insanity. I’m not going to get too deep into the Rohit Sharma injury fiasco (Lol who am I kidding),  because that will be a never-ending rant. But I will say that there has been zero transparency from the BCCI about this issue. Not just the fans, the employees within the organisation are just as clueless about what’s going on. Everyday, we get ‘anonymous sources from the BCCI’ saying that they have no idea what happened with Rohit, why he went to India, what was the state of his injury etc. The literal captain of the Indian Cricket Team says he had no idea whether Rohit was coming to Australia or going to his home in Mumbai or going to the NCA. No idea about whether he was fit, whether he was recovering.

Rohit Sharma Injury Saga Rant – What They Said

Virat has said in his interview and I quote “We had got a mail before the selection meeting saying that Rohit is injured and he won’t be available for selection. But then he played some IPL games, so we all thought he would be on the flight to Australia, but he wasn’t. And we had no information whatsoever why he isn’t travelling with us.” Tell me this isn’t a serious fiasco. The BCCI is making a mockery out of itself.

Rohit Sharma Injury Saga Rant – The Nation Wants To Know

‘But then he played some IPL games’, why didn’t you stop him then? Ravi Shastri was going around giving interviews saying ‘Oh, Rohit isn’t completely fit yet, he shouldn’t play’, then why did you allow him to play!? Don’t act like you didn’t have that power. The BCCI has stopped players from playing in the IPL very frequently in the past, why was this any different? And why did Rohit not travel to Australia with the team like Saha did? Saha is injured too, but he’s doing his rehabilitation in Australia with the team. Let’s not pretend like the NCA has some facilities which couldn’t have been provided in Australia too. Because h went to India, the quarantine rules will add a further 14 days to his return. So if he had come to Australia instead, he would have been able to play the Test Seris, at least. As of now, it looks improbable at best.

The Kannadiga Konundrum

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KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal embrace as Manish Pandey looks on with jealousy

India will have a big decision to make in terms of the playing 11. In the absence of Rohit Sharma, the 2nd opener’s spot is up for grabs. Personally I’ve always batted for KL Rahul to open the innings. But India seems to be dead set on him fitting the No.5 keeper-batsman MS Dhoni mould, which just isn’t KL. Anyway, if they remain dead stuck on him being an MSD rip-off, then the openers spot will go to Mayank Agarwal. That wouldn’t be undeserved by any stetch of the imagination. Mayank has done exceedingly well in both the longest and shortest format of the game for country and club respectively, so it’s only fair that he gets a shot at the 50-over game too. By the way, I think its super interesting how he is competing with his two fellow Karnataka friends Manish Pandey (for a place in the side) and KL Rahul (for the opener’s spot). The three of them started their journey together and are excellent friends, but it’s too bad they are always pitted against each other as far as national selection goes.

The 3rd Pacer Problem (Wait is this India or RR?)

Barring the Kannadiga Konundrum, India also has one more spot to think about. The last pacer’s spot. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami will be India’s pace duo across formats. But the third pacer will always be a problem. The options are endless – Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur in ODIs, T Natarajan and Deepak Chahar in T20s and Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj in Tests. The choice for ODIs looks to be the easiest though, with just Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur to choose from. Purely based on bowling, Saini will be the easy choice. But Shardul Thakur brings in an extra dimension – his batting. He can bat a bit, and if there ever was an India team who needed bowlers who can bat, it’s this one, what with Ravindra Jadeja being the only all-rounder in the whole squad. So that will make the decision tougher, but I still think Saini will win the battle, for the first game at least.

Middle Order Concerns (This team is RR in disguise, I’m telling you)

The biggest worry for India, apart from the lack of all-rounders, is their middle order. I know, I know putting Virat Kohli into any sort of ‘weakness’ column is daft, but let’s admit it, he hasn’t been at his best in the past year in whatever limited cricket he did play. He has gone a whole year now without scoring a single century. Imagine that. He is the world’s best bet to break Sachin’s 100 100s record, and an entire year gone, no centuries. He has to come back with a bang now. Following Virat in the lineup will be Shreyas Iyer. He did not hav the best IPL, much like his captain. Yes, he was the 4th highest scorer but it was his strike rate and his inability to play well under pressure which was worrying. He has done very well in India’s blue though, so let’s hope he can put aside recent performances and start afresh.

Prediction – Australia will probably win this, based on the team they have. I really really hope I’m wrong though!

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