India vs Australia has grown into a rivalry to look forward to. Both teams have produced exciting cricket whenever they have come up against each other in the last couple of decades.
India now embarks on yet another tour to the Southern continent, this time defending the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The first Test in the series will be a played with a pink ball, under floodlights. This is the first time India will be playing a Day & Night Test away from home. But before the Test match action begins, both teams will lock horns in the limited-overs format, which will include three ODIs and T20Is each.
This tour will also be India’s first international mission after a long layoff caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This layoff and the absence of any domestic cricket made deciding the squad a tough task for selectors. While the IPL helped players get back into cricketing mode, some injuries further complicated matters, and the selectors had to revise the initial squad that was announced on 26 October.
Let us have a look at the final squads for the different formats here.
Indian squad for the tour of Australia
India ODI Squad
The selectors have made four changes to the ODI squad that toured New Zealand. Rishabh Pant has missed out on both ODI and T20I squads, following his lack of form in recent limited-overs matches for India. With just one half-century in 14 innings, he hasn’t been able to produce an innings of substance, especially in ODIs. His struggle during the IPL did not help his cause either.
Another notable exclusion is that of Kedar Jadhav. Jadhav struggled to get going in the IPL, and that combined with his below-par performances against West Indies and New Zealand in ODIs paved his way out of the team. Prithvi Shaw and Shivam Dube, who were part of the ODI squad in New Zealand, are also absentees from the squad.
Shikhar Dhawan has earned an ODI recall based on his run in IPL 2020, in which he lost the Orange Cap by a touching distance after scoring 618 runs in 17 innings at a strike rate of almost 145. Hardik Pandya, who had missed out on the New Zealand tour due to injury, has earned his place back. He might, however, play as a specialist batsman - as he did in the IPL - due to his back problems.
In the absence of an injured Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul will be the deputy for Virat Kohli. He was also the sole wicket-keeper in the initial squad, but selectors included Rajasthan Royals' mainstay Sanju Samson later as a back-up keeper.
ODI Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vc & wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wk)
India T20I Squad
The hamstring injury caused to Rohit Sharma during the ongoing IPL has ruled him out of the T20I squad as well. Just like the ODI squad, KL Rahul will be the deputy to Virat Kohli and the first-choice wicket-keeper in the squad, with Sanju Samson retaining his position in the side as the back-up keeper.
Kuldeep Yadav, who has been struggling for confidence and form for quite some time now, has been dropped from the Indian T20I team. He could not make the playing eleven even for Kolkata Knight Riders for the majority of the season. The wrist-spinner bowled just 12 overs in and ended up picking just a solitary wicket.
However, his KKR teammate Varun Chakravarthy impressed the selectors with his performance in the IPL, where he collected 17 wickets at an economy of 6.84 runs an over. This led to his maiden call-up in the T20I squad. But it wasn't long before the jubilation gave way to agony, as he had to be withdrawn from the squad due to a shoulder injury.
The withdrawal of Varun Chakravarthy, however, provided an opportunity for another young bowler, Tamil Nadu and Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer T Natarajan. He impressed one and all with his accuracy by bowling yorkers in crunch situations. The left-arm pacer's figures were also impressive with 16 wickets at an economy of 8 runs an over. Natarajan was initially named to travel with the team as a reserve player to bowl in the nets, but got picked for the T20I squad at the last moment.
Shivam Dube and Shardul Thakur are the other two players who were part of the New Zealand tour to have missed out on the T20I squad.
Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal have also earned call-ups on the basis of their IPL performance. Agarwal scored 424 runs from just 11 matches at a strike rate of over 156 forging a solid opening stand for Kings XI Punjab along with KL Rahul. Hardik Pandya and Deepak Chahar have made it back to the T20I set up after missing the last series due to injury.
T20I Squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vc & wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, Thangarasu Natarajan
India Test Squad
Virat Kohli will be part of the Indian Test squad for just the first match. He has been granted paternity leave, and will be travelling back to India after the Adelaide Test for the birth of his first child. But India has a bit of positive news as well, with the late inclusion of Rohit Sharma to the squad with the assessment that he will be fit for the Test matches.
Ajinkya Rahane is the official vice-captain for the Test series, but fans and pundits have been voicing their opinion to let Rohit Sharma lead the Indian side in the absence of Virat Kohli. It needs to be seen how it pans out during the tour.
India's Test squad is comparatively large, with an 18-member contingent travelling down under. Four fast bowlers were also announced to travel as reserves, but Kamlesh Nagarkoti has now been ruled out due to workload management. The jumbo squad is majorly due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, due to which people from outside the bio-bubble won’t be allowed to interact with the players, eliminating the possibility of having local net-bowlers.
The only notable omission from the India squad is that of Ishant Sharma, who injured his back while training for the Delhi Capitals. He is currently undergoing rehab at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, and might be added to the Test squad if he regains fitness.
Wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha has also injured both his hamstrings during the IPL. The selection committee has currently included him in the squad, but specified that a call will be taken later depending on his recovery.
IPL Orange Cap winner KL Rahul has earned a recall to the Test squad after he was dropped earlier this year due to some inconsistent performances. Kuldeep Yadav has also been recalled to the Tests while uncapped pacer of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mohammed Siraj, is a new entrant to the Test set-up.
Tests : Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vc), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohammad SirajPublished 11 Nov 2020, 17:28 IST