Will India Bounce Back Against Australia After Asia Cup Debacle?

India and Australia are set to clash in the three-match T20I series starting from September 20. Both the teams are formidable on paper and are giving final touches to their preparations for the T20 World Cup which will begin in October

BENGALURU | Updated: 17 September, 2022 10:53 am IST

India and Australia are set to clash in the three-match T20I series starting from September 20. Both the teams are formidable on paper and are giving final touches to their preparations for the T20 World Cup which will begin in October.

Though India have won 19 matches and lost only six in the T20 format in 2022, the recent debacle in Asia Cup has exposed many chinks in their armour. Australia, on the other hand, have played only nine T20Is in 2022 and have won six. Apart from one match against Pakistan, Australia played all their T20I matches against Sri Lanka which was a mediocre side before their resurgence in the recently-concluded Asia Cup.

Australia are the defending champions of the T20 World Cup and expectations from them are always high because they usually reserve their best for big tournaments. Before last year’s World T20, the Australian team was writhing in a dark abyss. They were savagely drubbed in the three consecutive T20I series by New Zealand, West Indies and Bangladesh respectively.

But they stepped on the gas in the marquee tournament and emerged victorious. Since the next T20 World Cup is happening in Australia and they are the defending champions, the team will leave no stone unturned to ensure that they come good in the premier championship.

Australia have rested their four key players – David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Mitch Marsh and Marcus Stoinis – for the series against India. All four of them are integral part of the team and are certain to play in the T20 World Cup but selectors want to try some youngsters to give them an opportunity to brush up their skills before the big tournament.

In the absence of Warner, Marsh and Stoinis, the batting line-up will revolve around skipper Aaron Finch and Steve Smith. Glenn Maxwell, Tim David and Cameron Green will hold the middle-order together. In the last one year, wicket-keeper Josh Inglis has made fine contributions in many matches by reeling off breezy cameos in the final overs. There’s a competition between him and Matthew Wade to firm up their place in the playing XI.

While Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are touted as the spearheads of Australian bowling, leg-spinner Adamn Zampa has been outstanding in the last three years in this format. Not only is he amazingly accurate but also has the wherewithal to hustle out top batters. His change of pace, steady line and variations make him a difficult bowler to cart away in the T20s.

India are smarting from their middling show in the Asia Cup where they crashed out of the tournament after losing consecutive matches to Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Poor team selection, absence of Jasprit Bumrah and blase attitude were some of the reasons behind their defeats. However, Virat Kohli snapping back to form is a huge positive for India. They will be looking to try Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel and Jasprit Bumram — all three of them have recently recovered from injuries — to check their form and fitness.

This is also an exceedingly important series for KL Rahul who flattered to deceive on his return in the Asia Cup. The calls are growing louder for his axe as Kohli hit a century as an opener against Afghanistan and can open the innings with captain Rohit Sharma, if the situation demands.

Another aspect India will look closely into is the death-overs bowling which hasn’t been up to scratch recently. India have a solid squad at their disposal but the critical factor will be how they decide upon the playing XI for a particular match. The captain and team management must ensure that the embarrassment of the riches doesn’t become a noose around their neck in the crucial tournament.

 

India Squad: Rohit Sharma (Captain), KL Rahul (vice-captain), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohd. Shami, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah

Australia Squad: Aaron Finch (Captain), Steven Smith, Tim David, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott, Josh Inglis, Matthew Wade, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis

 

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