IND vs AUS: India begin preparations for T20 World Cup with tough series against Australia
India will look to sort out their middle-order combinations and give shape to their plans for the T20 World Cup when they take on the hosts of the competition Australia in a three-match home series on Tuesday. While most of the fast bowlers will be rested over the course of six games before the World Cup — three matches against South Africa to follow after the Australia series — India has a full-strength squad at their disposal to finalise combinations.
Meanwhile, Rohit has confirmed that KL Rahul partner him in the opening slots in Australia but there we might also see Virat Kohli open alongside him. With the star batter scoring a memorable hundred in his last T20 innings, there will always be a temptation to make him bat at the top.
The top-four are pretty much fixed but questions will be raised about the role of wicketkeepers Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in the playing eleven. With Ravindra Jadeja injured, we might see India keep the left-handed Pant over Karthik who is a designated finisher in the squad.
Deepak Hooda played all the Super 4 games in the UAE but there still remains a lack of clarity over his role in the side. Jadeja's injury during the Asia Cup upset the bowling balance of the team. From six bowling options, India were forced to play with five bowlers.
If India plays both Hardik Pandya and Jadeja's like-for-like replacement, Axar Patel, the team will have the extra bowling option. Axar and Yuzvendra Chahal can be the two spinners with Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal and Hardik forming the pace attack.
The conditions in Australia will be vastly different from here and the management will go about its business keeping that in mind.
Australia, on the other hand, has come to India without a few of their main players including David Warner (rested).
Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh, who are nursing minor injuries ahead of the World Cup, have also stayed back in Australia. The focus will be on skipper Aaron Finch, who recently retired from ODIs after a prolonged lean patch. He will be aiming for a bagful of runs ahead of the World Cup at home.
Another player who has attracted a lot of attention is power-hitter Tim David who is set to make his Australia debut after playing international cricket for Singapore. David has made a name for himself with his performances in the T20 leagues around the world and he would be looking to replicate that at the highest level.
Australia: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.