Cricket: Straight away after the end of the cash-rich league IPL, Indian players have boarded Australia flight to play 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is, and 4 Test matches. Indian players initially were quarantined for 14 days as per Australian COVID protocol.
India’s regular skipper Kohli has already confirmed that he won’t be taking part of last 3 tests as he wants to be along with his wife Anushka Sharma during the birth of their first child. So everyone expected Kohli to set the tone for the series before he leaves for India.
But the first two matches of the ODI series didn’t really go well for the Men in Blue. Their bowlers including Bumrah were hammered all around the park for boundaries as the pack leaked 370+ runs on both occasions. This has put huge pressure on the batting unit during the chases and led to their downfall in order to keep up with the ever-mounting RRR. Men in blue were hanging their heads down and they needed fresh air to turn the things around.
What worked for Men in Blue in the last ODI?
Kohli made as many as 4 changes to the playing XI in the dead rubber of the ODI series. Few players were rested while few were given a chance in the playing XI. Natarajan made his debut and has felt his presence in the team with 2 crucial wickets.
Medium Pacer Shardul Thakur’s inclusion has worked wonders as he picked 3 key wickets that included Smith right at the top. Shardul’s presence meant that the Indian long tail was cut down by a few inches. A great batting show by Jadeja-Hardik(150* run partnership) and good bowling performance ensured India escaped a whitewash. The moment Hardik is fit enough to bowl, this side becomes the side to beat.
T20Is follow ODIs
India doesn’t have much to worry about the T20Is as they have enough firepower in the lineup, and players still have their IPL memories fresh. But the real task is tackling in-form Australia in whites.
Can India win over the Aussies without their skipper Kohli?
First Test is played under lights, and India needs to get ready for their first every D/N Test in Australia. They badly need to win the first match if they are eying the Border-Gavaskar trophy. If they lose the first match, Kohli’s absence for the rest of the series makes it tough for Blues to get an edge over Kangaroos. Rohit’s availability for the last two Tests is subject to clearance from NCA, and this too doesn’t help India’s cause.
Team India should believe in a team effort, and every individual should contribute to the team’s win. Rahane’s captaincy would be under the scanner as winning the series is very important for India, keeping WTC in view. It is very tough to fill Kohli’s shoes both as a captain and 2-down batsmen. All players should step up and nullify the effect of Kohli’s absence. Surely, this is going to be a series to watch for Cricket Enthusiasts.
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