The Indian cricket team has landed in Australia as Virat Kohli’s men gear up to make their return to the cricket field after nine months. The Men in Blue had visited New Zealand earlier this year, where they blanked the Blackcaps in the 5-match T20I series.
However, the home team whitewashed India in the ODI and the Test series. India was set to play a home ODI series against South Africa. But the COVID-19 pandemic compelled the BCCI to cancel the series. After a long break, the Indian team will play its first 50-overs match against Australia.
There were some big surprises in the ODI squad announced by BCCI for this tour. Here’s a proper SWOT Analysis of the Indian ODI squad for the series against Australia.
For the first time in a long time, the Indian ODI team’s middle order looks settled. Virat Kohli has been phenomenal at number 3, and Shreyas Iyer has backed him up to perfection at number 4. KL Rahul’s form was the biggest positive for the Indian cricket team from the New Zealand.
The right-handed batsman top-scored for the team, and he won the Orange Cap award in IPL 2020. The middle order will be the main strength of the team. On top of that, Hardik Pandya also looked in terrific touch during the recently concluded IPL tournament.
Pandya will likely bat at number six and finish off the innings with his big shots in the slog overs.
While there are no major weaknesses in this Indian ODI squad, the absence of Rohit Sharma and the disastrous form of Kuldeep Yadav might hurt the team. Sharma looked in fine touch during the last few games of IPL 2020. However, the BCCI has not cleared him to play the limited overs series against Australia.
Kuldeep Yadav lost his place in the Kolkata Knight Riders lineup to Varun Chakravarthy. Hence, it will be interesting to see how he performs Down Under.
Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal are the candidates to take Rohit Sharma’s place in the playing XI. The two rising stars have performed wonderfully in the domestic arena. They have an opportunity to prove their talent at the international level now.
Agarwal has good memories from the previous Australian tour as he had a great Test series. Meanwhile, Gill made his ODI debut against New Zealand last year. Unfortunately, he could not make an impact on his debut. Still, he will get many more chances and he will likely cement his place in the team.
Shikhar Dhawan had missed the ODI series against New Zealand. But he is coming off a brilliant IPL 2020 campaign. Even Shardul Thakur has received another chance despite an average season with the Chennai Super Kings. Thakur will aim to repay the selectors’ faith.
Hardik Pandya’s back issues might not allow him to bowl a single ball in this series. Earlier, Virat Kohli used Pandya regularly in the bowling attack, and on many occasions, Hardik bowled 10 overs for the team. His unavailability in the bowling department means that Hardik will play as a specialist batsman for the Indian team.
While Hardik is incredibly talented with the bat, his absence in the bowling unit will hurt the team’s balance. Ravindra Jadeja did not have his best IPL season with the ball. Thus, the form of the two Indian all-rounders is something that might concern the Men in Blue.
Both of them are performing well with the bat, but the team will need them more in the bowling unit especially because their batting lineup looks solid. It will be interesting to see if the Indian team can win their second consecutive ODI series in Australia.