India's squad announcement for the upcoming ODI series against Australia has brought some interesting changes to the team composition. KL Rahul will lead the Indian unit in the opening two matches, while star players Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be rested for the first two ODIs but will return for the final encounter. The return of off-spinner R Ashwin to the ODI set-up after a 20-month exile has also grabbed the headlines. In this article, we will delve into the details of the squad announcement, analyze the team selection, and discuss the implications for the upcoming series.
KL Rahul to Lead the Indian Unit
The Indian team management has entrusted the leadership duties to KL Rahul for the first two ODIs against Australia. Rahul has been in excellent form recently, especially in the limited-overs format, and has shown great composure and consistency with the bat. This decision reflects the team's confidence in his abilities and provides an opportunity for him to showcase his leadership skills on the international stage.
Resting Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli
In a surprising move, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli have been rested for the first two ODIs against Australia. Both players have been integral to the Indian team's success in recent years, and their absence will certainly be felt. However, this decision highlights the team management's focus on player rotation and workload management, especially with the upcoming ICC World Cup just around the corner.
R Ashwin Returns to the ODI Set-Up
One of the major talking points of the squad announcement is the return of off-spinner R Ashwin to the ODI set-up after a gap of 20 months. Ashwin, known for his variations and wicket-taking ability, adds a new dimension to the Indian bowling attack. His inclusion brings more experience and depth to the spin department, which could prove crucial in the upcoming series against Australia.
Axar Patel's Fitness Concerns
There is still suspense surrounding Axar Patel's fitness for the series against Australia. The all-rounder sustained an injury during the Super 4 encounter against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup and has been undergoing rehabilitation since then. Chief selector Ajit Agarkar expressed hope that Patel would be fit for the final encounter. His availability would provide a valuable option for the team, considering his contributions with both bat and ball in recent matches.
The Pace Bowling Unit
The Indian pace bowling unit for the series against Australia comprises Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, and Prasidh Krishna. Bumrah, known for his accuracy and ability to generate pace, will lead the attack. Siraj's exceptional performance in the Asia Cup final has earned him a spot in the squad, while Shami's experience and skill will be crucial in the absence of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Prasidh Krishna, with his ability to swing the ball, adds further depth to the pace department.
The Batting Line-Up
With Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli rested for the first two ODIs, the Indian batting line-up will have a slightly different look. KL Rahul, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, and Suryakumar Yadav are some of the key players who will be responsible for providing stability and firepower to the team. The return of R Ashwin also adds depth to the batting line-up, as he is known for his contributions with the bat in the lower order.
Building Bench Strength
Rohit Sharma has emphasized the importance of building bench strength in the Indian team. With the World Cup approaching, it is crucial to have a strong pool of players who can step in when needed. The series against Australia provides an opportunity to test the skills of some of the fringe players and identify potential options for the future.
Australia's Squad Announcement
Australia has already announced their 18-member squad for the series against India. The return of key players like Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, and Mitchell Starc strengthens the Australian team. The series promises to be an exciting contest between two strong teams, with both India and Australia considered among the favorites to win the upcoming World Cup.
Schedule and Venue
The India vs. Australia ODI series will consist of three matches, scheduled to be played on September 22, September 24, and September 27. The first match will be held in Mohali, followed by matches in Indore and Rajkot. These venues provide the perfect setting for high-intensity cricket and will test the skills of both teams.
India Squad for the 3rd ODI
Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel*, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj
India Squad for 1st two matches
KL Rahul (c), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, and Washington Sundar
The squad announcement for the India vs. Australia ODI series has set the stage for an exciting contest between two formidable teams. With KL Rahul leading the Indian unit, the return of R Ashwin, and the absence of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli for the first two ODIs, there are plenty of talking points to look forward to. The series will not only serve as preparation for the upcoming World Cup but also provide an opportunity for both teams to showcase their skills and stake their claim as favorites for the prestigious tournament.