2KG6KGA Melbourne, Australia. 22nd Nov, 2022. David Warner of Australia bats during the Dettol ODI Series match Australia vs England at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia, 22nd November 2022 (Photo by Patrick Hoelscher/News Images) Credit: News Images LTD/Alamy Live News
It’s the final dress rehearsal before the
main action begins as India host Australia in a three-match ODI series in
Mohali, Indore, and Rajkot that offers the two cricketing heavyweights the
perfect opportunity to fine-tune their preparations for the World Cup.
The Men in Blue will be looking to ride the
wave of their Asia Cup triumph in Sri Lanka and extend their winning momentum
ahead of a home tournament. Having ticked most of the boxes in the Asian
challenge, the Men in Blue have rested some of their key stars for the first
two games of this series, with Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and
Kuldeep Yadav all set to feature only in the third ODI in Rajkot.
Their absence puts the spotlight on India’s
bench strength, giving opportunities to the likes of Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar
Yadav, and Shreyas Iyer to impress against the Aussies and stake their claim
for a starting XI berth at the World Cup.
Another bold call taken by the team
management for this series is recalling Ravichandran Ashwin to the squad, who
hasn’t played an ODI at home in over six years. With Axar Patel sidelined due
to injury, Ashwin could book his ticket to the World Cup with a strong
performance against Australia over the next three matches.
The visitors head into this series on the
back of a shock defeat to South Africa, but welcome the return of key players
such as Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, and Glenn Maxwell for these
three matches. The five-time World Champions have enjoyed recent success in
ODIs in India, winning each of their last two bilateral series in the
subcontinent and have a squad brimming with all-rounders and a litany of
Both sides will not field their
full-strength XI for the first ODI in Mohali, giving opportunities to some
players on the fringes to have one last look in.
Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill are likely to
open for the Men in Blue, with a middle order featuring Tilak Varma, Shreyas
Iyer, KL Rahul, and Suryakumar Yadav. While Ravichandran Ashwin should feature
in all three ODIs, India could also manage the workload of their pacers, giving
each of the five fast bowlers an opportunity across the series.
Australia, meanwhile, will be without
Mitchell Starc and Glenn Maxwell for the first ODI in Mohali, with both players
still recovering from their respective injuries. Travis Head has also pulled
out of the squad after suffering a fracture against South Africa, giving Marnus
Labuschagne an opportunity to impress and make his case for a World Cup berth.