MOHALI: One of the positive aspects of India’s forgettable Asian Cup campaign was the centenary marked by Virat Kohli after a hiatus of three long years. Playing after a six-week break, Kohli scored a fiery international 71st century, albeit in an inconsequential affair against Afghanistan.
This Kohli special (122 steps on 61 balls) was made possible, according to the bat-man himself, by sticking to a “tried and tested” pattern in which six hits were no match. priority. Kohli said so during a conversation with skipper Rohit Sharma.
Now that the burden of hitting that elusive ton is over, all eyes will be on Kohli’s approach when he takes the field in the first of three T20Is against Australia here on Tuesday. After this series, India are set to face South Africa in three more T20Is from September 26 ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia in October.
As well as keeping an eye on Kohli’s form, India will also be keen to lock down their best combination in these home games, with the skipper Rohit Sharma having given his boys permission to stretch their “boundaries”.
Looking at Rahul
An eye will also be on how Rohit’s first opening pick, KL Rahulcomes into its innings against a quality bowling team led by pat cummins and Josh Hazlewood. “KL Rahul will open for us at the T20 World Cup. We are not going to experience this position much. His performances are often noticed. He is a very important player for India,” Rohit had said.
For his part, Rahul said on Monday: “The roles that have been defined for each player over the last 10-12 months have been very clear and a player understands what is expected of him and everyone is working on it. J can’t wait to take on the challenge against Team Australia, and work on how I can improve as an opening hitter and see how I can have the most impact for the team when I go out to bat . ”
Pant or Karthik or both?
Suryakumar Yadav and Deepak Hooda will be tasked with managing the middle order while the wicket-keeper slot will once again attract suggestions from various walks of life, with the left-handed Rishabh Pantsdespite his repeated failures in the shorter format, having a slight advantage over the timeless Dinesh Karthik, also named finisher.
“Both (Pant and Karthik) are high quality players, these decisions are not easy. But it all depends on what kind of combination we want to go seeing the conditions and on the other hand the teams we are playing against. As a team, the coach, the captain and the management group, we are looking for the one who fits the role on that day, he can play,” said Rahul.
In the absence of versatile star Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma could be tempted to test similar replacement Axar Patel for the sixth bowling option, although skipper Rohit believes Ravichandran Ashwin’s batting abilities could also come in handy . . The return of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel clearly adds sting to the pace department with the in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the pack.
Australian rhythm roster sold out?
Reigning world champions Australia are unbeaten in their last two visits and will be looking to continue in the same vein. The Kangaroos rested their key players, including David Warner, for the brief tour. Despite this, the team isn’t lacking in resources with the likes of Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and skipper Aaron Finch boasting enough IPL experience. Moreover, the new addition to the team, Tim David, is no stranger to the Indian box office, given his association with the IPL franchises.
While the coaches have decided not to risk the trio of Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis and Mitchell Marsh, all with minor injuries before the World Cup, substitutes Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis will be keen to prove a point against a solid home challenge. .
From the Indian perspective, the series opener at the PCA stadium could provide Rohit & Co. with a great opportunity to fill the gaps after a dismal Asian Cup.
India: Rohit Sharma (c), KL Rahul (vc), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda, Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik, Hardik Pandya, Ravichandaran Ashwin, Yuzvendra ChahalAxar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel, Deepak Chahar, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav
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