The long-awaited Indian tour of Australia is set to begin in a few more days.
With the pandemic going around, the tournament has been in doubt, but after seeing other nations conduct international games smoothly, the tour has finally been organized.
Both India and Australia have flown into Australia straight after the IPL.
By flying from one bubble to another, the Indian team benefitted from a less stringent quarantine.
While they could not have outside contact, the player had access to training facilities after a shorter time isolation period.
The Indian team has sent a big touring party, which is likely to stay together for the entire tour.
Due to the pandemic, flying in players will be difficult as the quarantine restrictions remain strict.
To avoid losing personnel due to injury, the selectors have sent several reserves, net bowlers, and the Indian team.
By doing so, in case of an injury, a player can easily walk into the side.
The Indian side has also seen some exciting changes to their squad.
On the back of IPL performances, T Natarajan has made it to the Indian side, while Navdeep Saini has also earned a test call-up.
Injuries to Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma have put their tour in doubt as they are unavailable until the third test.
Virat Kohli is also set to return to India on paternity leave after the first test.
The absence of Virat Kohli may be a decisive blow as the side will miss the energy he brings.
In Kohli’s absence, Rahane will lead the side and has done so in the past and the test format.
Being a cool character, it is interesting to see what Rahane will bring to the table in the absence of an aggressive captain.
KL Rahul has been announced as the vice-captain in the limited-overs format while also keeping wickets.
The new role seems like a message from the selectors to groom Rahul for the future wicket-keeping function.
The selections also indicate how they wish to use Rishabh Pant.
Pant has been included in only the test format after underwhelming performances in limited-overs cricket.
He is the second keeper along with Saha in the squad, and despite his form, Pant still has the potential to be the difference between the two sides.
The tour kicks off with three ODIs followed by three T20is.
The limited-overs contests are crucial as three world cups are coming up over the next three years.
The Australian side will be boosted with the presence of Smith and Warner.
The two players were absent last time the two sides met in the test format.
With the two players to return, the Indian bowlers may have a more challenging time than before.
Finch returns as captain after an average IPL.
The limited-overs side looks settled for the Australians despite many seniors looking to rest before the test series.
In the test format, a point of the debate could be the opening pair.
Warner and Burns are likely to be the preferred openers, but recent performances from Will Pucovski may stimulate some thoughts in the selector’s minds.
However, both sides remain clear that the absence of Virat Kohli is not likely to affect the outcome of the series and expect the series to be closer still contested.
Coming to the venues, the tests are going to be held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.
The Adelaide Test will be a day-night affair and will be India’s first overseas day-night Test.
There have also been reports of crowds being allowed in specific venues.
There is still no confirmation, however, on the capacity or allowance of crowds despite reports.
The tour starts on 27th, and it will be India’s first ODI assignment since February.
Considering the last tour’s outcome, this visit is expected to be closely contested, with both sides fighting hard.
A closely contested and entertaining tour will undoubtedly be welcome after a long and quiet year that we have all been through.
Let’s wait and watch India’s international comeback, and I hope the year ends on a high for all cricket lovers around the globe.