Team India is all geared up to feature in their second tour down under in the past two years. India’s last outing to Australia in 2018 was a major success after the Virat Kohli-led side triumphed in the ODI and the Test series. India’s 2020 tour of Australia kickstarts with a three-match ODI series starting November 27 in Sydney.
The Indian ODI squad will bear the loss of Rohit Sharma, who misses out owing to his hamstring injury. If the reports are to be believed, Rohit might also miss the first two Tests against Australia. While the visitors might find his back-up in the Test format, it will be tough shoes to fill in the white-ball format of the game.
In the absence of Rohit, the onus will be on the senior guys to step up and take the team forward along with the youngsters in the squad. Ahead of India’s first ODI in Sydney, here’s a look at India’s Predicted Playing XI against Australia
India ODI squad:
Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, and Sanju Samson.
1. Openers: Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal
India will fancy the opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal for the first ODI at the SCG. The start at the top of the order always becomes crucial for visiting teams in Australia. It will be no different for India and they will rely on the left-right combination of Dhawan and Agarwal to start off the proceedings with a good opening partnership. Dhawan’s form leading into the Australia tour will be a huge confidence-booster for India ahead of the limited-overs series.
The Delhi Capitals’ opener was the second-highest run-scorer in the recently concluded IPL scoring over 600 runs in the entire season. His opening partner, Agarwal, has also been in some good form before he encountered an injury mid-way through the IPL 2020. The team management will hope that Agarwal can play a perfect to Shikhar at the top of the order.
2. Middle-Order: Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (VC & Wk)
India will boast of a really strong middle-order comprising of Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Shreyas Iyer, who easily walks in India’s predicted playing XI. Virat Kohli, the best ODI batsman in the modern game, will bat at his usual No.3 spot. Kohli has been due for a big score for quite a long time now and will hope that he can bring curtains to his lean patch in the upcoming ODI series.
With Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul in the middle-order, it allows Kohli to play more freely at No.3. Both Rahul and Iyer displayed great form in the IPL 2020. India will expect both the batters to bring consistency in their game, especially towards the back-end of the team innings. Being captains at their respective franchise in the IPL, they will get better at pacing their innings at a crucial spot in the middle-order.
3. All-Rounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja
At No.6, it will be a toss-up between Hardik Pandya and Manish Pandey. While Hardik is not expected to bowl due to his back concerns, he will feature solely as a batter in India’s Playing XI. It will depend upon the team management if they prefer to go with Hardik’s explosiveness or Pandey’s recent white-ball form as the sixth batting option in the playing XI.
Ravindra Jadeja will slot in at the No.7 position as a capable bowling all-rounder. While Jadeja is primarily judged for his bowling exploits, his batting prowess has also grown by leaps and bounds in the recent few months. Even in the IPL, Jadeja displayed his growing ability to finish games for CSK in the lower-order.
4. Bowlers: Mohammad Shami, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
India possesses a bowling attack with enough variety in their seam attack. The presence of Mohammad Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah as two of the best white-ball bowlers, makes up for a potent Indian attack. Navdeep Saini will play as the third seamer in the playing XI. He can bowl consistently at 140 mph with a bagful of tricks required to succeed at the international level.
Yuzvendra Chahal will be the lone specialist spinner in the playing XI. Chahal has decent numbers in Australia. In his last ODI in Australia, he registered his best ODI bowling figures of 6/42. He has enjoyed bowling in Australia, especially due to the big boundaries that allow spinners to have a say in the game.