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India vs Australia 2020: 5 things to watch out for in the ODI series

ANALYST
Feature
Published 13 Jan 2020, 20:56 IST
13 Jan 2020, 20:56 IST

India and Australia are set to renew their rivalry
India and Australia are set to renew their rivalry

After their surprising victory last year, the Australian ODI team is back in India for another series - this time a three-match encounter. This team is even stronger with the presence of David Warner and Steve Smith in the side.

The Indian team isn’t quite at full strength, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar missing with injury, but otherwise, their power-packed line-up remains intact. Despite them not reaching the final of the World Cup last year, few would argue that the Indian team isn’t among the best two teams in this format.

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Australia on their part, being the only ODI side to have defeated India in India in the last four and a half years, are also among the best units in the world. Though this series isn’t scheduled around a big tournament, it is still important for both sides and has many important things to look forward to.

Here are the five main issues that this series is likely to address:

1. Rishabh Pant again under the scanner

Rishabh Pant has to continue proving himself in the 50-over format
Rishabh Pant has to continue proving himself in the 50-over format

Yes, he did have a good series against West Indies and that did reduce the pressure on him. But Rishabh Pant’s performance would again be under the spotlight.

With Ravi Shastri having almost confirmed that MS Dhoni will quit ODI cricket soon, Pant now has to become a consistent performer.

The problem with the young Delhi keeper-batsman has been his tendency to get out after being set, playing irresponsible shots. However, he has also at times been forced to bat this way considering he comes in low down the order.

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It’s quite possible that Virat Kohli will once again promote Pant to the middle order in order to test him.

In the India vs Australia series last year, Pant didn’t have much success. He won’t have it easy this time either, with bowlers like Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc in the line-up. But with Dhoni unlikely to come back into the team, Pant has a golden opportunity to cement his place in the team.

Whether he does that or not remains to be seen.

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Modified 14 Jan 2020, 14:24 IST
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