After the Indian Premier League, the Indian cricket team will travel to Australia for three ODI games, three T20I matches, and Border-Gavaskar Trophy, comprising 4 Test matches. The Test series will be important not only because of the healthy rivalry between the two teams but also because it is part of the World Test Championship.
India is currently at the top of the WTC rankings table with 360 points. Australia with 296 points is at the number 2 spot. India, who won their first Test series down under last time in 2018, will hope to repeat the performance.
In this article, we will look at 3 players that can help India win the 4 match test series.
#3. Cheteshwar Pujara
It was Cheteshwar Pujara’s 3 hundreds that helped India win their first test series on Australian shores in 2018. His 123 in the first innings at the Adelaide Oval rescued India’s sinking ship, and set up the 31-run win. His 106 in Melbourne helped India make a comeback after the Perth debacle, and his 193 in the New Year’s Test at Sydney laid the foundation of India’s mammoth first-innings score, even though the rain-hit match ended in a draw.
Pujara’s form has ebbed and flowed overseas. Although he bagged the Man of the Series award in Australia, his returns in New Zealand were less than impressive – 100 runs at an average of 25.
India will look for consistent performances from Pujara. With Kohli set to miss the last 3 tests, the responsibility of leading the Indian batting line-up will be on Pujara’s shoulders. The 32-year-old's form may well determine the outcome of the series.
#2. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane’s form over the last 3 years has been an area of concern for the Indian team management. The right-hander has failed to put up consistent performances.
Last year, in the Caribbean, he seemed to have regained his form when he scored a well-crafted hundred, but an underwhelming New Zealand tour followed. With selectors and management showing faith in him, it's time for Rahane to up his game.
Also, with Virat Kohli on paternity leave for the last 3 Tests, Rahane will lead the Indian team. As a captain, he will have to make sure that India doesn’t miss Kohli’s enthusiasm and ruthlessness. He will also man 3rd slip or gully – a position whose importance can’t be undermined on Australia’s bouncy decks.
India will hope that Rahane rediscovers his mojo. If Rahane bats, fields & leads well, India will have a good shot at retaining the prestigious trophy.
#3. Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah’s rise as leader of the Indian fast-bowling department has been one of the most beautiful stories of Indian cricket. Hailing from Gujarat, Bumrah has grown by leaps and bounds since his debut against Australia in 2016.
The 26-year-old has taken 68 wickets in 14 test matches at an average of 20.33, and strike-rate of 45.30. Which is to say, he bags a wicket every 7.3 overs.
A strong Australian batting line-up will pose a stringent challenge to Bumrah. The contest between him and Steven Smith will be the most exciting duel of the summer. The contest between him and David Warner will be equally mouth-watering.
His unique action, pinpoint accuracy, and ability to move the ball in the air makes him a deadly bowler. If Bumrah can continue his rich vein of form, India will stand a very good chance of giving Australia a tough fight in their own backyard.Published 13 Nov 2020, 15:48 IST