India (Ind) vs Australia (Aus) — a rivalry of sorts in recent times, especially in ODIs. It is 2020. Times have changed. Looked at ODI rankings recently?
Australia – #3, Zimbabwe – #4, Ireland – #5
Now, the proceedings finally restart. India vs Australia at Sydney on November 27th for a good-ole classic ODI match, India’s first in the ODI league.
My prediction for the series: India 2, Australia 1. Read till the end to see why. Let us know who you think will win in the comments section below!
Ind: Batting Has Depth But No Flexibility
- Dhawan, KL Rahul, Kohli, Iyer, Pandey, Agarwal, Samson, and even Hardik Pandya (with back injury) – none of the top 6 bowl
- Rohit Sharma is one of the ODI players of the decade, but is out with an injury from the IPL. How much will this batting line-up miss him?
- With the #4 dilemma India suffered prior to the 2019 World Cup semi-final, it may be wise to move KL Rahul to #4 and open with the in-form Mayank Agarwal or Shubman Gill
Aus: Batting Has Too Much Flexibility
- With Finch-Warner-Labuschagne-Smith, the top four is pretty solid and settled
- The concern is the flexibility in the middle order – Stoinis, Carey, Maxwell and maybe even Moises Henriques/Cameron Green. Carey & Maxwell coming from disaster IPLs and Stoinis in the middle order is a hit and miss (fluid line-ups do not work much – look at KKR from the IPL)
- Out-of-the-box: Move Stoinis up to open, drop Labuschagne, and play with 3 all-rounders/power-hitters?
Ind: Kul-cha Holds the Key to India’s Success
- Kuldeep Yadav has had a horrid year or so with the ball, but in the large Australian grounds, the Kuldeep-Chahal partnership needs to be revived
- If Pandya does not bowl, should India drop a batsman and play Shardul Thakur as another bowling option/slogger down the order?
- Shami’s opening spells and Bumrah’s death bowling will be key
Aus: 5th Bowling Option the Only Issue
- Watch out for Hazlewood. I have a feeling his miserly line-and-length bowling will set the tone for the series
- With Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins the fast bowling is set and with Zampa getting into rhythm, this looks like a stable core
- 1 out of Stoinis + Henriques/Green + Maxwell/Labuschagne will complete the bowling, which is the only concern in this line-up
The Broken Dream
Ind: Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson
- India vs Australia ODI at Sydney 2016 – Manish Pandey’s 104* takes his team home in the chase of 331. 4 years down the line, still has not nailed a spot (feat inconsistency and selection mismanagement). Can he find a spot in the XI?
- Sanju Samson has always lit up the IPL and is finally getting some chances in the international fold. With KL Rahul almost certainly taking the gloves, can India find a space for him as an X-factor or will he end up as another Indian unlucky cricketer?
Aus: The New Kids on the Block
- Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, and Labuschagne in ODIs are great prospects for the future, and it remains to be seen if their long-term future will be secure
- Matthew Wade made a marvelous comeback after toiling in domestic cricket for a while. With Carey’s struggle of late, Wade may get a chance. Who knows, at 32, this might be his final try in ODI cricket
Verdict: 2-1 India
This series will be closer than it appears. Australia at home with this bowling attack and an envious top 4, Australia are the clear favorites.
If India can find that final lower-order firepower and exploit Australia’s 5th bowling option, we might be in for a close one.
I think Australia will win the first one, but India will bounce back with two on the trot to win the series.
My Starting XI:
These are my starting XI for the first ODI (assuming everyone is available in terms of COVID and injuries).
Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli*, KL Rahul (WK), Shreyas Iyer, Ravindra Jadeja, Hardik Pandya, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav
Aaron Finch*, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques/ Glenn Maxwell, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Adam Zampa
These are the other options in the squads.
Ind: Manish Pandey, Navdeep Saini, Sanju Samson (WK), Shubman Gill, Shardul Thakur
Aus: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Cameron Green, Daniel Sams, Glenn Maxwell, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade (WK)