India vs Australia ODI Series Preview

India vs Australia ODI Series Preview

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 match-winners.

Team News

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.

Probable XI’s

India: Ishan Kishan, Shubman Gill, Tilak Varma, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami

Australia: David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Tanveer Sangha, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood