The Australian selectors showed that they mean business by naming seven players, who took part in the World Cup, in the T20 squad. The team will be led by Matthew Wade, but it has World Cup winners Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Sean Abbott and Josh Inglis in it. Opener David Warner too was initially named in the squad but was withdrawn after the team won the World Cup.
Aaron Hardie, the Western Australian pace-bowling all-rounder who made his debut for Australia in South Africa earlier this year, has been added to the squad. Kane Richardson has also been drafted in as a replacement for Spencer Johnson, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
The Indian selectors, on the other hand, choose to rest most of the Indian players who took part in the World Cup. Only three from the squad have been named in the T20 team – Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Prasidh Krishna. Hence, in terms of experience and for a change, the hosts start as the underdogs in the series.
Smarting under the unexpected loss on Sunday, the Indians will look to pick up the threads in the shortest format of the game. “But the sun will come up tomorrow, and as sportsmen, we move on,” Team India’s regular coach Rahul Dravid had remarked after the World Cup loss.
Even though Dravid will not be with the team for this series, he would be keen that the SKY-led side will chart a new course and blaze like the sun. To make it happen, interim coach VVS Laxman will have a task on hand as it is not going to be easy for this bunch of cricketers against the Aussies.
Most of the players were part of the gold medal winning team at the recent Asian Games, but they could discover that taking on the Australians will be a different ball game. They have played mediocre attacks of West Indies, Ireland and some of the lower graded teams at the Asian Games in the recent past. Hence, it is going to be an uphill task for them against the more experienced Australian attack.
With the focus on the T20 World Cup next year, it will not only be a good learning experience for the young Indians but will also give the selectors some food for thought as they weigh in the options for the mega tournament. The young guns would like to make an impression in whatever chances they get during this series and the next two series involving South Africa and Afghanistan.
Apart from SKY, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal, N Tilak Verma and Rinku Singh will be keen on making an impression as some of the senior batters may not make the cut for the T20 World Cup. All eyes will also be on left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who had to miss out on the World Cup due to an injury.