A highly competitive & gripping contest is on the horizon as India’s tour of Australia kicks off tomorrow night in Brisbane. India’s intentions will be clear-cut against an Australian outfit struggling to register wins, make no mistake this could get very, very ugly. A format that India really does excel in, this T20I series will test the hosts beyond belief with the likes of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma in red-hot form with the willow.
Going down to the Proteas in the ODI series followed by an embarrassing-defeat in a one-off T20I match on the Gold Coast, Australia are yet again looking around for answers. Ever since the Smith and Warner debacle the Australian cricket team has looked skittish, perhaps worst of all unintimidating which goes against everything Aussie cricket used to stand for. There’s a fine line between sledging and taking things a bit too far, but at the moment Australia are about as intimidating as a butterfly. I can assure you that India aren’t going to hold back, sledging may not be their game this time around but the quality of cricket could be just as devastating. Reduced to 10 overs per side in wet conditions at Carrara, all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was Australia’s only batsman who looked even remotely-threatening as he tried desperately to keep a sinking ship afloat. Apart from Maxwell, India won’t be too worried about the rest of Australia’s misfiring-batting line-up.
Chris Lynn and D’Arcy Short are both superstars in the BBL, however the same can’t be said about representing their national side. With the likes of Chris Lynn, D’Arcy Short and skipper Aaron Finch struggling for form with the bat, that skyrockets the value of both Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell’s positions in the side. From a bowling perspective, Andrew Tye’s deceiving change-ups that has seen him forge a career at the highest level for his country could backfire against India. A vast-majority of batsmen hasn’t been able to pick him, but India isn’t one of them. The 31-year-old has claimed just two wickets in four outings against them with an economy rate of 9.15. A tactic that might work in favour of the Australians could be the use of all-rounders Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis with the ball. Maxwell’s spin bowling can be hard to score off at times, while Stoinis has a happy knack of picking up a wicket.
Many are of the opinion that this tour is “Virat Kohli vs Australia”, humorous yet somewhat-accurate. Given Australia’s current situation in the cricketing world, they’ve been stripped of their pride and face a long road to recovery. Dealing with a superstar of the game such as Virat Kohli is the last thing they needed, but the challenge has been thrown out to them and should make for a fascinating contest. Captaining the side in the absence of Virat, Rohit Sharma just recently scored his fourth T20I hundred for India, the most by any batsmen in International cricket. With Kohli averaging 48.88 and Rohit 33.43 in T20I cricket, India’s top order could be a nightmare to bowl to with the additions of Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul alongside their two standouts. Conditions in Brisbane should assist India’s batsman which isn’t exactly good news for Australia, and there should also be plenty of bounce in the wicket for the bowlers.
If the pitch plays like a traditional Gabba surface, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (if selected) should thrive with the ball in hand. Let’s not forget about 23-year-old wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav, he’s just about become India’s frontline spinner in limited-overs & T20 cricket. With a strike rate of 10.6 in this format, Kuldeep doesn’t muck around when he gets his opportunity to tweak the leather. IPL batting sensations Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer could also feature in the series at some point, for the time being Manish Pandey and KL Rahul will be given a chance to show what they’ve got to offer as the more experienced campaigners. Expect India to go into this match with three specialist seamers and a spinner, without all-rounder Hardik Pandya they don’t have the luxury of playing an extra specialist spinner on this type of surface. There could be an almighty display of fireworks tomorrow night courtesy of India’s highly-talented top order batting unit, all the Aussies can do is just hope for some mishits to come their way in the field.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Australia | 1st T20I | Brisbane
- Chris Lynn
- Glenn Maxwell
- Billy Stanlake
- Aaron Finch
- Marcus Stoinis
Wildcard pick – D’Arcy Short
Top 5 fantasy picks | India | 1st T20I | Brisbane
- Virat Kohli
- Rohit Sharma
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Kuldeep Yadav
- KL Rahul
Wildcard pick – Khaleel Ahmed
Australia (possible) – 1. D’Arcy Short 2. Aaron Finch © 3. Chris Lynn 4. Glenn Maxwell 5. Ben McDermott 6. Alex Carey (wk) 7. Marcus Stoinis 8. Nathan Coulter-Nile 9. Andrew Tye 10. Jason Behrendorff/Ashton Agar/Adam Zampa 11. Billy Stanlake.
India (possible) – 1. Rohit Sharma 2. Shikhar Dhawan 3. Virat Kohli © 4. KL Rahul 5. Manish Pandey/Rishabh Pant 6. Dinesh Karthik (wk) 7. Krunal Pandya 8. Kuldeep Yadav 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10. Khaleel Ahmed/Umesh Yadav 11. Jasprit Bumrah.