India vs Australia 2019, 1st T20I: Preview and predicted playing XI
After the long overseas tour of Australia and New Zealand where India probably played their best cricket across formats and achieved great feats, it is time to return home to host the Australians for 2 T20 Internationals and 5 ODIs.
Looking ahead to the World Cup, the Indian team would be focussed on filling up the backup spots in the squad since the playing XI is more or less fixed. The positions that are up for grabs are that of a backup opener and a backup wicketkeeper.
The Indian selectors, while announcing the squad for the current series, had said that it would be a toss-up between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik and the duo will be looking to stake their claim with fine performances against the Aussies.
The first match of the T20 series will be played in Visakhapatnam on 24th of February. India till date have played two T20Is at the venue, winning one of them.
Virat Kohli will be back in action after taking a break from T20I leg of the New Zealand tour. Kuldeep Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been given rest for the T20 leg of the series to preserve them for the World Cup.
Mayank Markande is the lone new face in the squad. It would be interesting to see another wrist spinner coming through the ranks. In the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul or Umesh Yadav would get the nod as they look to impress in their final series before the World Cup.
Predicted playing XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Siddarth Kaul, and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Australia, on the other hand, would want to give India a fitting reply following the loss in the previous series.
Australia have quite a good team in the T20 format. Many of the players have played T20 cricket on the Indian grounds due to the IPL so it should not be difficult for them to adapt to the Indian pitches and conditions. It would be interesting to see the combination that Australia chooses to field in the first T20I.
Predicted playing XI: Aaron Finch, D'Arcy Short, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, and Nathon Lyon.