INDIA: India has played 29 T20 Internationals since the 2021 T20 World Cup entered this series. Australia has only played nine games, in contrast.
Regardless of preparation, Australia might show up at the T20 World Cup with their customary assurance, but this time they’ll have to defend the championship in their own home. In comparison to their better-prepared rivals, they have a lot to learn.
It does seem pretty remarkable that these two teams haven’t faced off in a T20I since December 2020 in the era of jam-packed cricket calendars and timetables.
Australia prevailed in their most recent T20I series against India, which took place in February 2019, while India won the 2020 series 2-1. How can we forget the Mohali encounter where Virat Kohli rendered Australia speechless?
No matter the format, matches between these two nations have always been intense and fiercely competitive. This series should be no different if Australia can get through a few selection challenges.
One of the main worries appears to be the recent performance of their captain, Aaron Finch. Steven Smith’s average strike rate and position in the starting XI have come under scrutiny.
Additionally, David Warner has been rested, leaving Australia without the injured quartet of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh, and Marcus Stoinis for this series. The squad competing in this series is very different from Australia’s preferred World Cup squad.
However, it does allow Australia the flexibility to test out the backups, albeit they will also want to develop a winning momentum. After this series, they have two more matches against the West Indies and three home T20 Internationals against England before the T20 World Cup.
On the other hand, India has had some time to assess what has and has not worked for them. After some travel, they returned home after winning the bilateral T20I series in the Caribbean, England, and Ireland. But they learned important lessons from their most recent practice, which they did at the Asia Cup.
Rohit Sharma, the captain, stated that India was “90-95% settled” for the T20 World Cup following the Asia Cup Super 4s defeat. Their aggressive strategy has mainly been successful.
It is no longer in question where Kohli should play, at least for the time being, as he has finally found his form. They have assembled the strongest team possible going into the series, and their main goal will be to clarify responsibilities.
Hardik Pandya no longer needs to be the third seamer in the side with Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel both back in the lineup. India will also look for ways to make better use of all-rounders like Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda. Rohit made it evident that he supports KL Rahul as the opener.
Players to watch out
Tim David: He will be playing in the colours of Australia and will be the centre of attention as he attempts to display his power-hitting abilities. The Singaporean-born batsman has excelled in several T20 tournaments, most recently in the IPL.
He will now try to repeat his success on the global stage. Aside from his power-hitting, he is an absolute necessity in a T20 team because of his ability to handle quicks and spinners alike. In T20s, he scores at a strike rate of 164.12 and averages 32.48.
He’ll probably fill Stoinis’ place in the middle order in this series. But if Stoinis and Marsh are both healthy when the World Cup kicks out, Australia won’t be able to accommodate him.
Rishabh Pant: In the T20 format, he hasn’t quite been able to live up to the hype. Since 2020, he has played 32 innings of T20Is, averaging just 27.63 and striking out 129.95 times.
Due to Ravindra Jadeja’s injury at the Asia Cup, Pant was forced into the starting lineup instead of Dinesh Karthik because India needed a left-handed batter in the middle. But in the Super 4s, he only managed to make scores of 17 and 14 against Sri Lanka and Pakistan, respectively. While having Pant and Karthik on the roster gives them options, India can only fit one of the two in the starting XI for now.
India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma (capt), 2 KL Rahul, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Hardik Pandya, 6 Rishabh Pant/ Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/ Deepak Chahar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Australia (probable): 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Josh Inglis, 3 Steven Smith, 4 Glenn Maxwell, 5 Matthew Wade (wk), 6 Tim David, 7 Cameron Green, 8 Adam Zampa, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Sean Abbott