India and Australia will engage in a three-match ODI series on Friday, September 22, at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
However, in a significant setback for the visitors, both left-arm seamer, Mitchell Starc, and the versatile all-rounder, Glenn Maxwell, will be absent from the opening match of the series due to injury.
Captain Pat Cummins remains hopeful that the two could get fit for the last two games, which will be Australia's final series before the World Cup.
It is worth noting that Starc continues his recovery from a groin injury sustained during the Ashes 2023, while Maxwell, who withdrew from the recent South Africa series due to ankle soreness, is set to rejoin the squad on Friday, September 22. Still, his participation in the last two games is subject to fitness.
Other than the duo, the Australia team were also affected by injuries to Cummins, who has successfully recuperated from a wrist injury that ruled him out of the South Africa tour. Furthermore, star batsman Steve Smith will return following a wrist injury sustained during the Ashes.
Cummins on the approach during ODIs vs India without Mitchell Starc
Cummins conveyed his team's approach during the press conference prior to the series, emphasizing the importance of finding a balance between acclimating to the prevailing conditions and winning the series. He was also wary of arriving at the first game of the World Cup already fatigued.
He said, “We want to strike the balance between getting used to these conditions, hopefully winning some games, but we also don't want to get to that first game [of the World Cup] and already be cooked.
“No doubt we'll be trying a few different combinations, a few different players like Mitchell Starc will get a chance but ideally, we'd like to structure up pretty closely to how we'll play in the World Cup.”
Cummins also commended the performance of Marnus Labuschagne, who emerged as the leading run-scorer in the South Africa series, accumulating 283 runs across five innings.
Not picked for the preliminary World Cup squad, Labuschagne was called up as a concussion substitute during the first ODI, and made the most of his chances.
The Australia skipper expressed confidence in Labuschagne's potential to secure a spot in the World Cup squad with another exceptional series.
“Marnus (Labuschagne) is always ringing in my head, 24 hours (laughs). He was fantastic. He was our best batter in South Africa. Not only batting-wise, his intent was excellent there in South Africa. I am sure he will get his chance in three games and push for his spot.”
Following the conclusion of the three-match ODI series, India and Australia will clash in their inaugural match of the World Cup 2023 on October 8 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.