India vs. Australia: Key players for limited-overs series
India’s Australia tour is all set to begin with the 3-match ODI series on November 27. The teams will then play a 3-match T20I series from December 4 before moving ahead for the traditional Border-Gavaskar Trophy. After a long break, India will play international cricket, whereas Australia has some recent experience before the Indian Premier League.
Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team captain, will fly back to India just after the first Test match Down Under. Kohli will be attending the birth of his first-born, which is why he will be missing part of the Border-Gavaskar trophy. No wonder, Indian cricket team will be missing his service, but on the other hand, Virat Kohli will be highly motivated for the white-ball series.
Kohli has been one of the key players for the Indian team across all formats over the last few years. Moreover, his good show in the Indian Premier League has made fans hopeful about Australian soil performance. The beginning of IPL 2020 saw a mellow Kohli taking time to add runs. However, as the league went ahead, Kohli started to show his class. He ended as one of the highest run-scorers for his side, Royal Challengers Bangalore, with 466 runs in 15 matches at an average of 42.36 and the highest score of 90 not out.
Virat Kohli has already entered the league of legends with close to 12000 ODI runs from 248 50-over matches. As the Indian team returns to play international cricket after a long pandemic-forced break, Virat Kohli’s performance will play a huge role in the outcome.
Jasprit Bumrah debuted during India’s 2016 tour of Australia, and since then, he has made his presence felt in every possible way. Whether it is handling the new ball at the powerplays or providing a fitting climax at the death, Jasprit Bumrah has been the finest weapon of Virat Kohli’s men in blue. Over the years, he has had a huge contribution to the Indian cricket team’s success, especially in white-ball cricket.
Bumrah leads the pace bowling pack of the Indian side and has been influential in changing world cricket’s perspective towards India’s bowling attack. After months of break, when Bumrah came to bowl during the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, he initially looked out of sync. But as they say, for a class bowler like Japsrit Bumrah, the bad phase was a matter of time.
He made a strong comeback going ahead and ended the tournament as the second-highest wicket-taker with 27 wickets in 15 matches at an average of 14.96 and economy of 6.73. He also registered the career-best T20 bowling figure that saw him scalping four wickets for just 14 runs against Delhi Capitals. Bumrah’s form will be crucial for the Indian cricket team if the visitors want to make good memories on Australian soil.
Anyone who saw India’s last ODI on Australian soil during the tour of 2018-19 knows the importance of Yuzvendra Chahal. In his first game in Australia, Chahal, which was the final one-day between Australia and India at Melbourne, went on to run through the entire Australia line-up and took six wickets for just 42 runs. India won the match by seven wickets and claimed the series 2-1. Fast forward to IPL 2020; it is impossible to think of Royal Challengers Bangalore without Yuzvendra Chahal.
Virat Kohli, the RCB skipper, knows this leggie’s value in his side and hence never misses a chance of utilizing him. When it comes to the Indian cricket team, Kohli keeps following his instinct and bestow his faith in the 30-year-old.
The last IPL saw Chahal repeating his good performance in every match of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Even against the most destructive batters, he hardly lost his control. He finished with 21 wickets from 15 matches at an average of 19.28 and an economy of 7.08. Although the pitches Down Under are not famous for being spin-friendly, Chahal’s caliber of delivering according to the team’s requirement should work for India.
Just before the Indian Premier League, Australians were busy playing England in England. They visited England for three T20Is and as many as ODIs and managed to win the ODI series. However, David Warner could make only one 50 in the entire tour, which was why fans had not many expectations from the Australian batter in the league.
By the end of IPL, Warner was back on track and became one of the highest run-scorers of the edition. He scored 548 runs in 16 matches at an average of 39.14 and a strike rate above 134 with four half-centuries. He hit 52 fours and 14 maximums in the league and once again established himself as one of the best limited-overs batters of this generation. Warner’s presence has always made a difference to the Australian cricket team.
When India won the ODI series Down Under in January 2019, the hosts did not have David Warner and Steve Smith on their side. No wonder the duo’s presence will make things difficult for the visitors in the upcoming months. On the personal front, David Warner would like to make a strong comeback to the international scene after his last international white-ball outing in England.
Apart from the first T20I match against England, there was no disappointing game for Mitchell Starc in Australia’s last international outing. In three ODIs, he scalped five wickets at an average of 31.8, and in three T20I, he took two wickets at an average of 37.5. Apart from that one game where he conceded 30 runs in three overs, he had been an economical bowler for the Australian side.
His overall statistics in limited-overs speak for his mettle- 183 wickets in 94 ODIs and 45 scalps in 34 T20Is. Unfortunately, he has not found much success against India, with 16 wickets in 11 ODIs and three wickets in three T20Is. Australia’s bowling attack is led by two big world cricket names- Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Cummins, however, did have a forgetful Indian Premier League in Dubai.
On the other hand, Starc did not feature in IPL and got enough rest and practice during the period. But in recent circumstances, considering Cummins’ recent form and Starc’s form in England followed by the due rest, Australia’s success with bowling will depend a lot on Starc. He will have to play an effective role to take his side to the finishing line.
Marcus Stoinis played as a gamechanger for Delhi Capitals in the recently concluded Indian Premier League. In multiple cases, Stonis delivered a perfect spell or contributed with a match-winning knock whenever the IPL franchise needed someone. He played the roll of a perfect all-rounder throughout and finished the tournament with 352 runs in 17 matches at an average of 25 and a strike rate above 148.52, and 13 wickets with the best being 3/16.
After his performance with the ball in IPL 2020, Australia team management might like to explore this side of him more in the upcoming series against India. His ODI batting statistics against India is impressive- 379 runs in 13 matches with two 50s. He has also taken the greatest number of ODI wickets in his career so far against India- 10.
In the shortest version of the, although he has done moderately against India thus far- 70 runs in five innings and three scalps in eight overs. Even Stoinis himself would love to improve these numbers, especially with the good form on his side. The big-hitter also adds lots of flexibility for the Aussie batting line up as he can be used as an opener, a floater, or a finisher as per the requirement.