A whitewash stint put forth to Lankan cricket by Indian contingents has been a prodigious expedition for counting appraisals. Hence Indian fan base is all set to eye their unbeaten heroes retaining their invincible stride in the imminent home series against Australia. This busy home season consisting of 23 Internationals for Indians would definitely unleash their core strength into another level. It is indeed of no doubt that Indians are now running on their purple patches which carry their credential for shooting out trouble for their Australian adversary.
In the same context, it is highly plausible to peruse the Indian line up for the Australian series. With a settled ODI squad, India won’t be challenging too many changes but given the amount of cricket that they will play, they might look to rest a few players. Two players they certainly won’t be resting are Captain Virat Kohli and wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. These two have enjoyed a sublime tour of Sri Lanka. The openers along with the bulk of the middle-order are likely to remain the same. As a result of which it might be tough for the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina to make a comeback.
Despite his non-availability in the final two matches of India’s tour of Sri Lanka, Shikhar Dhawan has done more than enough to cement his place in the Indian ODI side. The 31-year-old continued his good form from the Champions Trophy itself. The series against West Indies also substantiated his batting form but this tour has been remarkable. He scored an unbeaten century and 49 in the first two matches. Although his form did seemingly tail off at the end of that series he will be raring to go against Australia and cement his spot for the busy home season ahead.
Going into the ODI series against Sri Lanka, Rohit Sharma didn’t have an impressive ODI record in the country. After a sublime Champions Trophy, he benched himself for the limited-overs series against West Indies. Later on, he reciprocated strongly to score three consecutive fifty-plus scores against Sri Lanka, including back-to-back hundreds. He will look to continue that against Australia.
Despite finishing as the Man of the Series in the five-match ODI series against West Indies, in which he scored four consecutive fifty-plus scores, Ajinkya Rahane played just one ODI in the tour of Sri Lanka. He even had to wait for Dhawan to be unavailable for his spot fixed in the eleven. And this is what just shows how strong and settled the Indian opening pair are. With KL Rahul’s poor form, expect the 29-year-old to find his spot in the ODI squad for the Australia series.
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For the first time as ODI and T20I captain, Virat Kohli will go up against Australia as a captain. This is a side against whom he has never captained before in ODIs. Coming into the series after back-to-back ODI centuries against Sri Lanka, Kohli has been unstoppable. Hence he will definitely look to add another ton to overtake Ricky Ponting. And by doing so he could claim sole custody of the second spot in the list of most ODI tons.
After a Champions Trophy in which he didn’t do a great deal and a mixed bag against West Indies, there were questions raised about MS Dhoni’s place in the side. But former captain shot the perfect response during the tour of Sri Lanka. His no dismissal outing showcased just how important his experience is, in ODIs.
A 90 above average in ODIs shows that his stories about his powers being on the wane have been greatly exaggerated. He will be looking to capitalize on his good form by adding to his runs tally. Hope very soon we could witness him inching closer to 10,000 runs.
With KL Rahul struggling in the middle-order against Sri Lanka, Manish Pandey has evolved into play. His performances during the tour-end look to consider as his testimony to retain his place in the side. Capable of playing anywhere in the middle-order, Pandey provides flexibility in the batting order. And also pondering on the fact that he is one of the finest fielders, it strengthens his case.
Despite scoring an unbeaten fifty and 48 in his last matches, Dinesh Karthik was unceremoniously dropped for the Sri Lanka series. Considering KL Rahul’s poor form, Karthik could well earn a comeback to the side for the ODI series against Australia.
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Since his international debut making last year, Hardik Pandya has established himself as an integral part of the Indian side. His quick scoring runs, taking crucial wickets and his exceptional fielding skills make him the ideal all-rounder. The fact that he can bowl fast, hit longer than most is an added advantage for him. That is why he will continue to take his spot against Australia.
Before the final ODI against Sri Lanka, Kedar Jadhav had a lackluster series. While he had picked up wickets with the ball, his primary skill was starting to let him down. But a fifty in the final ODI is sure to have earned him goodwill for at least another series. And especially considering the balance that he provides to the Indian side, he reckons a good call for himself.
The 27-year-old leg spinner from Haryana showed the benefits of having a leg spinner in the side. Considering the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka he has been a phenomenon. He finished with eight wickets in the tour and was continually amongst the wickets. While he was hit, he showed incredible resilience and came back strongly, the hallmarks of a good leg spinner. That is likely to be enough to help him retain his place for the Australia series.
During the absence of experienced duo, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel stepped into the middle carrying the spinning onslaught. He spun the web around Sri Lanka’s batsmen and finished with six wickets from the four ODIs that he played.
Economical, yet effective when it comes to taking wickets, Axar is the ideal ODI spinner. His handy batting capability in the lower middle-order might just swing the spot in his favor ahead of Jaddu.
Considering Australia’s struggle against Kuldeep Yadav earlier in the year, the chinaman bowler is an automatic pick on the side. Hence Ashwin will see out his contract at Worcestershire with the 22-year-old retaining his spot in the squad.
With Josh Hazlewood (No.1) and Mitchell Starc (No.3) unavailable in the Australian ODI squad, Jasprit Bumrah being in the fourth spot in the ICC ODI bowlers rankings will be looking to continue his rise to the top. After a sensational ODI series against Sri Lanka, where he broke the world record for most wickets by a pacer in a five-match ODI series, Bumrah will be looking to continue that form against Australia and also breach the 50 wicket mark in ODIs.
With his incredible variety and consistency, Bhuvi has cemented himself as an integral part of the Indian ODI bowling line-up. The selectors would definitely be looking at shuffling with the fast bowlers considering the busy schedule up front. His career-best ODI figures and India’s endeavor to reaching the No.1 ranking in ODIs, would definitely pay off. But for the same, the selectors need to ponder on picking their best squad and that certainly includes the right-arm pacer.
One major replacement for the Australia series is likely to happen in the pace bowling department. Shardul Thakur was given an opportunity against Sri Lanka but against Australia, India is likely to call upon the services of the experienced Mohammed Shami. The pacer is chasing Mitchell Starc’s record of being the fastest to 100 ODI wickets and he will look to break that against Australia.