Australia vs India ODI series: A quick preview
In normal circumstances, the world champions playing at home would be favourites going into a series. But things have been so messed up in Australian cricket that they are clearly starting as underdogs against a powerful Indian line-up in the three-match ODI series getting underway on January 12.
While the Australian Test team is in the doldrums due to the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner, the ODI side had its struggles last year against England at home even with these players in the squad. So, is there any hope for the Aussies or is this going to be another horrid experience for an unsettled side?
Let’s look at some key factors that will play a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the series.
Considering the massive workload inflicted upon the Australian pace bowling trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood by the Indian batsmen, it is not surprising that they are not part of the series. So, who is their main strike bowler?
Most probably it would be Billy Stanlake. This tall and lean fast bowler was one of the few good things that came out of their 0-5 drubbing at the hands of England last year. Like a typical Aussie pacer, he hits the deck hard and can get the ball to rear up sharply. If there is a bit of bounce in the wicket, he will be a handful for Indian batsmen.
Interestingly, Nathan Lyon has been brought into the ODI team. Mainly a Test bowler, Lyon hasn’t done badly in ODI cricket whenever he has been given an opportunity. With a good performance against India in the Tests under his belt, Aussies expect him to continue the good work in shorter format also.
Veteran Peter Siddle has been added to the team also, possibly to provide some experience. Siddle was also considered a Test specialist for a long time but with a bowling line-up full of greenhorns, he is supposed to be the wise old man in the team.
The likes of Jason Behrendorff and Jhye Richardson are young quickies yet to make a mark in international cricket and Adam Zampa, the other spinner in the team, won’t be regarded as a big threat by the Indians.
All-rounders like Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh can be useful but against the power-packed Indian line-up, not likely to be that effective.
Overall, it’s not a bowling attack that gives great comfort to the Aussies, especially when they are facing big guns like Sharma, Kohli, Dhawan, etc.