After two months in the IPL, quite a few teammates will be turning up against each other as the Australian Tour begins.
The tour is set to be a cracker as both sides come with a lot of talent.
India will be playing their first game during the pandemic, and it will be interesting to see how they approach their first assignment in months.
They last played an ODI against New Zealand in February, and the result of that series will undoubtedly raise questions.
The Indian side will also be missing some key players like Rohit Sharma, while Hardik Pandya’s workload is in question.
Let’s now look at a few points for India to consider ahead of the series.
Rahul’s batting position and a new role:
KL Rahul has been announced as the vice-captain of the limited-overs squads.
With Rishabh Pant out of the limited-overs squads, KL Rahul is now the first choice wicket-keeper.
Rahul took up the role as the sole wicket-keeper back in January against Australia while batting at number five.
The role worked well for him as he also found form in the middle-order.
He had some good knocks in the middle and cemented his position in the middle-order.
He has now been given extra chances to prove himself as a wicket-keeper and middle-order batsman.
A question regarding his position in the line-up arises due to the absence of Rohit Sharma.
With Shikhar Dhawan coming back to the top of the order, a spot is left vacant at the top.
With Rahul’s favorite position vacant, India may have to see whether they push him to the top or allow him to settle into his new role.
Second Opener if Rahul Doesn’t Open:
If Rahul is given more time to settle into his new role, an opening spot remains up for grabs.
Prithvi Shaw was used at the top during the New Zealand series but left out after the tour.
In the current squad, Agarwal and Gill seem to be the frontrunners for the spot.
Both players had good IPL seasons, but with different approaches to their innings.
Agarwal was more aggressive and finished the IPL with a strike rate of 156.
Gill was consistent throughout but looked to anchor the innings and finished with a strike rate of 117.
Agarwal is already a regular in tests, and both look like decent picks with their approach to the game suiting the format.
Sanju Samson and Manish Pandey are also in the squad, but with Rahul likely to bat in the middle, the two will have to wait for their turn.
Hardik Pandya’s Role:
After surgery to his back, Pandya has been restricted to a specialist batsman in the IPL.
He batted well in and was used mainly in the slog overs and finished with an excellent strike-rate.
While Pandya had Pollard and Krunal Pandya in the Mumbai Indians, he will have Ravindra Jadeja for a company with India.
With Ravindra Jadeja in good form, Hardik Pandya may replicate the level of freedom shown in the IPL.
As he is unlikely to bowl, Pandya will probably bat in the top six, a new role.
He may need to display more adaptation skills as he will find himself in different situations and may be restricted.
Kuldeep and Chahal have been the key to India’s bowling plans in the past.
After the 2017 world cup, the two bowlers were backed to pick up wickets in the middle-overs and successfully.
The two bowlers complemented each other well and met with lots of success.
Playing both bowlers met with problems, though.
As neither can bat as well, the Indian team struggled with a long tail.
Ravindra Jadeja came in and solved that issue with his all-round abilities.
Ravindra Jadeja’s lower-order batting has been key to India on many occasions, and he is likely to take up a spot in the side.
If Jadeja plays, there will only be one spot left for the two spinners.
Chahal has had a right IPL, picking up 21 wickets, while Kuldeep Yadav struggled to make the eleven.
Going by recent form, Chahal may get the nod as the specialist spinner.
Kuldeep Yadav, however, has experience of bowling in Australia and can make use of the larger boundaries and bouncy surfaces, which will keep him in the discussion.
The Pace Attack:
With the tests scheduled in a few weeks, bowlers like Shami and Bumrah will manage their workloads.
The two bowlers have been through a tough IPL and may be rotated throughout the limited-overs series.
Navdeep Saini could face the same treatment as he is in the test squad as well.
With the three bowlers likely to be rotated, Shardul Thakur may get more chances as he is the only other pacer in the one-day squad.
It will be interesting to see how the workloads are managed with just four pace options, while Hardik Pandya seems unlikely to bowl.