It has been announced that India will visit Australia for a highly anticipated tour starting in October this year. The unexpected delays from the coronavirus may have hit cricket around the world, but this series is certainly one to look forward to when the action finally returns. It must present four test battles, three ODI and three T20I. It’s those test contests that seem the most intriguing.
Australia will be eager to show they are worthy of their current place at the top of the ICC test team rankings. And unsurprisingly, betting on the national team in the Test series is huge for cricket fans in Australia. Considering that popular bookies like Bet365 have great odds in Australia in the Test series, we can be sure that the Baggy Greens will have the support of many to assert their dominance at home once the odds are announced.
However, India also has some points to prove after a disappointing defeat in the Test series in New Zealand. Those matchups against the Black Caps threw up some key questions that will need to be answered by Captain Virat Kohli and his team before the trip Down Under.
Is India’s batting drive strong enough?
After suffering a 2-0 shutout in the Test series in New Zealand, it was India’s generally strong batting lineup that came under the most scrutiny. Starter Mayank Agarwal failed to get going on his first full series on the road. Still, he finished as his country’s top scorer, but without capturing the form that saw him perform so brilliantly alongside Rohit Sharma during the win over South Africa in late 2019.
That said, the talented right-handed hitter is likely to keep his spot. Sharma missed the series through injury and his return will further strengthen India. However, the New Zealand tour perhaps highlighted how much India currently relies on Sharma to lead from the front. The real questions arose about the force in depth behind him.
Young Prithvi Shaw opened in his place, but proved he’s still raw despite half a century in Christchurch. He was chosen before fellow prospect Shubman Gill. Ailing starters piled additional pressure on Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Kohli, who in turn were unable to get India out of trouble on the road.
Is there a place for KL Rahul?
One name missing from New Zealand’s test matchups was the versatile KL Rahul. The hitter was red hot in the one-day format in late 2019, but he’s still not a regular on the test side. Those ODI performances, which also saw him take the gloves against Australia in January, continue to make it difficult for the selectors not to give him another chance.
Despite fighting in test victories over the West Indies last year, its flexibility would give India the option to use it to strengthen its higher or middle order options as it sees fit. His previous performances against rhythm attacks in England show that he could have something to offer against the Australians as well.
Who wins the battle for gloves?
While Rahul would also offer another backup option with the gloves when it comes to the test side, this is truly a direct fight between Rishab Pant and Wridhiman Saha today. Pant received the gloves in New Zealand, but the more experienced Saha continues to push him to the end. It is an area that is difficult to identify, but it could be vital as India seeks more points for the World Test Championship. The reason for Pant’s selection over Saha against the Black Caps was due to his hitting, according to the selectors. He suggests that he will have to perform better than in New Zealand (60 races of two tests) if he is to be trusted in Australia.
Tags: Australia, Cricket Fans, India, Test Series