Although a few fast bowlers are resting in the six games before the World Cup – three games against South Africa to follow after the Australian series – India have a full squad at their disposal to finalize combinations.
The T20 format is very flexible, but as he mentioned ahead of the first T20, India skipper Rohit Sharma would like to get “all the answers” from his players ahead of the ICC showpiece event in Australia.
Although India fought well in the Asian Cup, they resorted to many changes during the tournament. Their lack of depth in the bowling department has also been exposed but Harshal Patel and Jasprit Bumrah are now back to bolster the attack.
Rohit has made it clear that KL Rahul will be his opening partner in Australia, but it’s possible that Virat Kohli will open alongside him. With the star hitter scoring a memorable hundred in his final T20 innings, there will always be a temptation to have him hitting the top.
The top four are pretty much sorted, but the jury is still out on the role of wicket-keepers Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik in the playing eleven.
With Ravindra Jadeja injured, will India keep the pants lefty on Karthik who is a designated finisher in the squad?
Karthik, who barely managed to beat in the Asian Cup, is hoping for substantial playing time over the next two weeks.
Deepak Hooda has played every Super 4 game in the UAE but there remains a lack of clarity over his role in the squad.
Jadeja’s injury in the Asian Cup upset the balance of the team in bowling. From six bowling options, India was forced to play with five bowlers.
If India face both Hardik Pandya and similar Jadeja replacement Axar Patel, the team will have the extra bowling option.
Axar and Yuzvendra Chahal can be the two spinners with Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal and Hardik forming the pace attack.
Conditions in Australia will be very different from here and management will continue to operate with that in mind.
Australia, on the other hand, came to India without some of their key players, including David Warner (rested).
Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh, who are nursing minor injuries ahead of the World Cup, also remained in Australia.
The focus will be on skipper Aaron Finch, who recently retired from ODIs after a long period of leanness. He will aim for a full sack for races before the World Cup on home soil.
Another player who has attracted a lot of attention is power hitter Tim David, who is set to make his Australian debut after playing international cricket for Singapore.
David has made a name for himself through his performances in T20 leagues around the world and he would look to replicate that at the highest level.
Australia: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.
The match starts at 7:30 am IST.