Team India played the IPL in the UAE and are now in Australia for a long tour. The tour Down Under will kick off with the three-match one-day international (ODI) series, starting November 27.
India had toured Australia last in 2018-19 when they defeated the Aussies 2-1 in the three-match series to register their first ever bilateral ODI series win on Australian soil.
India lost the opening encounter by 34 runs but made a remarkable comeback and registered a six-wicket win in the second ODI and then thumped the Aaron Finch-led side by 7 wickets in the decider to clinch the series.
As we count down to the upcoming ODI series, TimesofIndia.com takes a look at the top Indian players to watch out for in the three-match series this time:
When Virat Kohli is on song, he is unstoppable. The Indian run-machine’s record speaks for itself. In IPL 2020 Virat scored 466 runs in 15 matches at an average of 42.36, including three half-centuries, Kohli will have to come out all guns blazing against Australia in the ODI series if his love affair with Australian opposition is to continue.
In the 2018-19 ODI series in Australia, Kohli scored 153 runs in 3 matches (3 innings) at an average of 51.00. Overall, the Indian skipper has scored 1910 runs against Australia (home and away) in 40 matches (38 innings) at an average of 54.57. He also has eight centuries and as many fifties against the Yellow Brigade. Kohli’s stats have been impressive on Australian soil too. He has scored 1154 runs in 26 ODIs (26 innings) at an average of 50.17, including five centuries and four fifties.
Since he will be leaving after the first Test for the birth of his first child, Virat will be itching to play his own unique brand of aggressive cricket to set the tone for the full series in the ODIs, beginning on Friday.
Virat Kohli in ODIs vs Australia in Australia: Matches: 40, Runs: 1910, Avg: 54.57, 100s: 8, 50s: 8
KL Rahul was handed the wicket-keeping gloves after Rishabh Pant suffered a concussion during the home series against Australia in Mumbai earlier this year. And the Karnataka star batsman grabbed the opportunity with both hands. In the three-match ODI series, Rahul scored 146 runs at an average of 48.66.
He was then given full-time wicket-keeping duties in the limited-overs series against New Zealand. He scored 224 runs in 5 matches at an average of 56 in the T20I series and then continued his sublime touch in the ODI series too where he scored 204 runs in 3 ODIs at an average of 100.
Rahul is in ominous touch currently. The Kings XI Punjab captain signed off the 2020 IPL season as the highest run-getter of the season with 670 runs in 14 matches at an astonishing average of 55.83.
Rahul has never played an ODI match on Australian soil. Overall, he has played just 5 ODIs against the Aussies and scored 183 runs at an average of 45.75.
Considering his current form, Rahul will be expected to fire from the word go in the ODI series. It will also be very interesting to see which position the team management decides to play him.
KL Rahul in ODIs vs Australia: Matches: 5, Runs: 183, Avg: 45.75, 50s: 1
With two back-to-back centuries and four half-centuries in the recently-concluded IPL 2020, dashing left-handed opener Shikhar Dhawan will go into the series Down Under high brimming with confidence and in great form. Dhawan, who represented Delhi Capitals in this season of the IPL, signed off as the second-highest run-getter with 618 runs in 17 matches (17 innings) at an average of 44.14 under his belt.
Dhawan was part of India’s ODI series-winning squad when the team toured Australia in 2018-19. He didn’t have an impressive outing with the willow, managing just 55 runs in 3 matches at an average of 18.33.
In his career overall, the Delhi batsman has played 27 ODIs against Australia (home and away) and has scored 1145 runs at an average of 45.80, including 4 centuries and 6 fifties.
He has so far played 18 ODIs on Australian soil, scoring 699 runs at an average of 38.83, including two centuries and three fifties.
With a bagful of experience, fans are expecting Dhawan to give a solid start to India’s ODI campaign.
Shikhar Dhawan in ODIs vs Australia: Matches: 27, Runs: 1145, Avg: 45.80, 100s: 4, 50s: 6
‘Boom Boom’ Bumrah is expected to be India’s trump card in the fast bowling department. Be it opening the bowling or clipping the tail, Bumrah is a tried and tested match winner. Bumrah will go into the series on the back of an impressive IPL outing. The Mumbai Indians pacer finished IPL 2020 as the second-highest wicket-taker with 27 wickets in 15 matches.
The pacer who has an unorthodox bowling action has an impressive record against the Yellow Brigade. In 14 ODIs against Australia overall, Bumrah has claimed 18 matches at an economy of 4.97.
Bumrah has played just one ODI against Australia in Australia in 2016 when he claimed two prized wickets of Steve Smith and James Faulkner. This was Bumrah’s ODI debut and he played a vital role in India’s six-wicket win in that match. He was rested for the 3 match series vs the Aussies in 2019.
Jasprit Bumrah in ODIs vs Australia: Matches: 14, Wickets: 18, Econ: 4.97, Best: 3/61
Indian pacer Mohammed Shami has improved with time and experience and turned into a lethal force in all formats. The experienced pacer was the highest wicket-taker for Kings XI Punjab in the 2020. He took 20 wickets in 14 outings in the cash-rich league at an economy of 8.57.
Shami also travelled to Australia in 2018 and was part of the ODI outfit. He played three games and claimed 5 wickets in the series at an economy of 5.08.
Shami has played 17 ODIs against Australia overall (home and away) and has 25 scalps to his name at an economy of 6.02, including one four-wicket haul.
He has featured in 12 ODIs against Australia in Australia and has taken 18 wickets at an impressive economy of 4.83.
The Shami-Bumrah combine could have a big role to play in the ODIs, unless the team management decided to rotate them to rest them and keep them fresh for the 4 match Test series.
Md. Shami in ODIs vs Australia: Matches: 17, Wickets: 25, Econ: 6.02, Best: 4/63
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is a thinking bowler. A former national-level junior chess champion, Chahal has the ability to read the body language of batsmen and bamboozle them with his variations. Chahal played an instrumental role in Royal Challengers Bangalore entering the playoffs in IPL 2020. He was the highest wicket-taker for RCB this season with 21 wickets in 15 IPL matches at an economy of 7.08.
Chahal was also part of the Virat Kohli-led Indian team when the Men in Blue travelled to Australia in 2018-19. He finished as the second-highest wicket-taker in the ODI series. Interestingly, he played just one ODI and went on to claim an astonishing 6/42 in India’s resounding seven-wicket win against Australia in the third ODI in Melbourne. He was adjudged Man of the Match for his stupendous show.
The Haryana bowler has played 7 ODIs so far against Australia overall (home and away) in his career and has taken 15 wickets at an economy rate of 5.65.
Chahal has the ability to turn the game on its head and he could play a crucial role in India’s ODI campaign.
Yuzvendra Chahal in ODIs vs Australia: Matches: 7, Wickets: 15, Econ: 5.65, Best: 6/42