The Indian team led by Virat Kohli has reached Australia and have started their training for the important series against Australia. The three-month-long tour comprises of three ODIs, three T20Is, and four test matches. India will miss Rohit Sharma in white-ball cricket whereas Virat Kohli will leave for the birth of his first child after the first Test match. The tour starts with the ODI series on 27th November and currently all the focus is on the ODI format.
India has named a 16-member squad for the ODIs with some changes from the previous series. Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw have been dropped whereas Sanju Samson and Shubman Gill have been included. There are a lot of options for the different roles so let’s have a look at the predicted XI for the ODI series starting in Sydney.
Openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal
Shikhar Dhawan will be back as he missed the last ODI series against New Zealand due to an injury. He was in brilliant form in the IPL and he will hope that he continues that great form in the ODI series against Australia. Dhawan has enjoyed playing against Australia so his performance will be key for India, especially in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
Mayank Agarwal will partner with Shikhar Dhawan in place of Rohit Sharma. Agarwal failed to impress in the three-match ODI series against New Zealand but gets another opportunity against Australia. He is a good solid player and looked in good touch in the IPL. He has to make sure that he makes it big once he gets a start because he has a tendency to throw his wicket after some good starts.
Middle-order – Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul
The best ODI batsman in the world will be back in action for India after eight months. All the Indians and even some Australians are waiting to see him score the big runs in Australia. Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul were the only positives in the last ODI series against New Zealand as both of them scored runs consistently.
Iyer scored his maiden ODI ton whereas Rahul hit a century in the third ODI. Rahul is the new full-time wicket-keeper as we saw in that ODI series. Both these batsmen will enjoy the Australian conditions with some pace and bounce.
All-rounders – Hardik Pandya & Ravindra Jadeja
It all depends on Hardik Pandya’s fitness whether he plays as a pure batsman or an all-rounder. Even if he is not fit to bowl, he is a good enough player to get a place as a pure batsman. Coming in at No.6 he will need to play the aggressive role which suits him. If Pandya is not fit to bowl then Jadeja might need to bowl all his ten overs.
Jadeja has improved his hitting skills as he was finishing off games for CSK this season. These two players could form a deadly combination at No.6 and No.7 as they can take on the bowlers from the word go.
Bowlers – Mohammad Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah and Navdeep Saini
Three out of the four bowlers pick themselves. Jasprit Bumrah has been in great form and will be key for India in this ODI series. Mohammad Shami has improved his death bowling which is a great sign for Team India. Yuzvendra Chahal, as usual, has picked up wickets in the IPL and the last time, he played an ODI in Australia he picked up six wickets in that game.
The only other option could have been Shardul Thakur for Navdeep Saini but Kohli likes raw pace and that might help Saini get a place in the XI. If Saini doesn’t perform well India might think of Shardul Thakur as the third pacer.