The battle lines have already been drawn, and it is almost time for the Australian summer of cricket to get underway. Australia and India will go up against each other across all three formats in what promises to be a cracking contest between two of the best cricket teams on the planet this summer. These two teams have served up some of cricket’s most memorable matches over the years, and expect this series to be no different.
Matches between India and Australia are always hard-fought, aggressive and feisty affairs, and with so many storylines already developing in the build up to this series, we could see a lot more of the same this summer.
The series gets underway with three ODIs and three T20s, before attentions turn to the main course, which is the four match Test series for the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The test series will have the added importance of World Test Championship points being on offer. India lead the WTC standings based on points, but with percentage of points earned being the deciding factor, Australia are currently ahead. The winner of this series will all but secure qualification to next year’s WTC Final at the Lord’s cricket ground.
India beat Australia 2-1 in the Test series the last time these two sides squared off back in 2018 ahead of the World Cup, their first ever test series win down under. The Virat Kohli-led team also edged the Aussies in the ODI series, while the T20 series was drawn 1-1. Although Aaron Finch and his side got a measure of revenge by beating India 3-2 in the five match ODI series between the two teams a few months later. And with David Warner and Steve Smith now back to bolster the batting line-up, the hosts will have the edge this time around.
Another blow for India is that Virat Kohli will only be available for the first of the four tests, and so the Men in Blue will have to make do without their captain and most important batsman for the majority of the series. There are several other injury concerns, and a number of batsman go into the series out of form. On the other hand, Tim Paine and Justin Langer have a well balanced squad and an embarrassment of riches in their world class bowling attack.
All in all, we are set up for a fascinating series with fine margins set to make the difference as we often see in matches between Australia and India. And fans watching both at home and in the stadiums will be in for a treat.
Players to Watch
Australia have one of the world’s most destructive bowling attacks, and Mitchell Starc is certainly their trump card. The left-arm pacer was in the form of his life last summer, as his 29 wickets helped the Aussies make light work of Pakistan and New Zealand. India will provide a much sterner test to Starc and co. And it will certainly be interesting to see if he can get it right, because if he does, India will stand no chance of winning the series.
While Shubman Gill has yet to make his test debut for India, he could well be the breakthrough star of this series. The 21 year old is considered to be the next big thing in Indian cricket, and he could have a big role to play with his idol Virat Kohli only playing one test. India could look to Gill as a potential replacement for Kohli, and if his first class average of 73.55 is anything to go by, Gill could be just the man India need. He is just as comfortable opening the innings as he is playing in the middle order. His raw talent could be just what India need to take on this world-class Australia attack.
Joe Burns’ poor form in the Sheffield Shield means that Will Pucovski could get the opportunity to open the batting for Australia. The highly rated batsman goes into the series on the back of two double hundreds for Victoria while opening the innings, and although he may not play in the first test, chances are that the will make his debut sometime in the series against India. Pucovski has long been considered one of Australia’s most talented young batsmen, and his current form almost commands selection into the team.
Hanuma Vihari was arguably India’s big find of their last tour to Australia. And he will have a big role to play, especially in the absence of Virat Kohli. His patience and staying power could prove to be a very useful weapon on the Australian pitches, which tend to suit the batsmen as they get stuck in. He has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and should be a lock to play, whether it is at number 4 or 6. Vihari’s throwback style and his ability to play under pressure makes him a very valuable player for India. And he could be set for a big series down under.
India Full Touring Squad
One-day and T20s: Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan.
Tests: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammad Siraj.
Australia T20, ODI and Test Squad
One-day and T20s: Aaron Finch, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.
Tests: Tim Paine, Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
1st ODI: SCG, Sydney | November 27
2nd ODI: SCG, Sydney | November 29
3rd ODI: Manuka Oval | Canberra, December 2
1st T20I: Manuka Oval | Canberra, December 4
2nd T20I: SCG, Sydney | December 6
3rd T20I: SCG, Sydney | December 8
1st Test: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide | December 17 – December 21
2nd Test: MCG, Melbourne | December 26 – December 30
3rd Test: SCG, Sydney | January 7 – January 11
4th Test: The Gabba, Brisbane | January 15 – Januray 19