After completing an unbeaten summer of cricket in T20 and Test cricket, Australia turn their attention to ODIs. The contest promises to be a high-voltage one since both sides would be playing with their full-strength team. Contrary to the previous time when the tourists arrived without two of their best batsmen, not only they have been included, but also the likes of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have landed along with them to face India.
Australia might be brimming with confidence, given their series victory with a second-string squad last year; however, they aren’t favourites. India are tough to beat at home. The home side can also take heart from the fact that they defeated a full-strength Australian outfit in the 2019 World Cup. Yet, Aaron Finch’s men have the potential with their current side to secure back to back series victories in India.
Here is the predicted XI for Australia ahead of the first ODI:
Aaron Finch (c)
The Australian skipper has endured a forgettable outing as far as this edition of BBL is concerned. Under Finch, Melbourne Renegades have lost seven games on the bounce. His own form with the bat has been consistent. The 33-year old was in a similar position last year, coming off on the back of captaincy struggles and a string of low scores. He has found himself in the same spot again and would be keen to turn his fortunes around once more.
The little dynamite from New South Wales marked a thunderous return to white-ball cricket in the 2019 World Cup. David Warner’s tally of 647 runs in the tournament was the second-highest among the run-getters. He has also been in terrific touch in the summer across six T20s. The 33-year old would be itching to prove his mettle in India against a quality Indian bowling line-up.
Coach Andrew Mcdonald has already dropped a strong hint that Steven Smith would bat at number three. The right-hander averages over 50 while batting in that position. At number three, Smith would get a lot of time to settle in and will be ready to switch gears later on. He would also be looking forward to building on his encouraging World Cup form to prove his supremacy even in ODI cricket.
The burning question surrounding the tourists’ playing combination is whether Marnus Labuschagne will receive his first ODI cap. Peter Handscomb underwent a significant breakthrough in his ODI career the last time he visited India, playing an instrumental role with his bat in Australia’s series win.
Marnus doesn’t stand far behind. While he has been unstoppable in Test cricket so far, the South African-born also fared well in the Marsh One-day Cup, averaging over 60 for the Queensland Bulls. The inclusion of Labuschagne also gives them an extra bowling option in the form of leg-spin. Whoever gets the nod, is expected to bat at the number four position since the top three will consist of Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Steven Smith. Handscomb is likely to get the nod since he has already proved himself in India.
Ashton Turner came up with one of the stunning and a powerful innings played against India in a run-chase the previous time. In a chase of 359, Turner smashed 84 off 43 deliveries to get his side past the finish line. The 26-year old would have to fill the gaping hole left by Glenn Maxwell. He showed his capability the last time and in the T20I series in the home summer. Turner would bat at number five.
Alex Carey (wk)
In recent times, Alex Carey has taken giant strides towards becoming one of the reliable and level headed batsmen in this line-up. The 28-year old aspires to play the role of MS Dhoni, the finisher and he did play the same for Australia in the 2019 World Cup on several occasions. The Australians bat deep and the South Australian will have to continue to justify the faith by giving good performances in this tough tour.
Ashton Agar is one of the spinners in the squad along with leggie Adam Zampa. The left-arm spinner, in recent times, has elevated himself to a wicket-taking option as well as controlling the flow of runs. Not only this, Agar is a handy batsman down the order, who can be relied upon to bat till the end of the innings and smack a few out of the park.
The number one Test bowler at present had a significant role to play in his nation’s series victory the previous time. With the new ball, Pat Cummins is not only penetrative, but also keeps the runs down. The 26-year old would be reunited with his two other pace colleagues and will severely test the Indian batting order.
Mitchell Starc will most likely take the new ball for Australia. The left-arm seamer is considered very deadly with the new ball as well as unleashing the yorkers in the death overs to trigger a collapse. The 29-year old also provides the advantage of being someone who can add quick runs down the order.
Josh Hazlewood could feature in only one out of the three Tests against New Zealand before a hamstring injury derailed his rampaging start. Hazlewood’s greatest weapon is his precision with the new ball and the ability to swing the ball could trouble can get the better of the best in the business. The 28-year old seamer will likely be the new-ball partner for Mitchell Starc.
The leggie would be keen to prove himself in ODI cricket after a disappointing World Cup campaign. Adam Zampa spelt trouble for the Indian batsmen the last time, leaving players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma clueless. The 27-year old has to spread a similar web around a strong Indian batting line-up to achieve back to back series victory.