India and Australia meet once again in 2017 and this time in limited overs cricket. The four-Test series between the two cricketing giants earlier this year proved to be a highly competitive and exciting affair, and this series also promises to be on the same line. Here, we take a look at the top players from both sides, who would end up dictating the overall result of the series.
Such is the aura of Virat Kohli these days; it’s very hard to look past him when it comes to any lists. Here also, Virat Kohli will be one of key players for India in the limited overs series against Australia. Kohli has been a perennial source of trouble for the Aussies, considering how he and Rohit Sharma took apart the visitor’s bowling attack the last time these two sides met in India in 2013. It would be a surprise if Kohli doesn’t add to his tally of ODI centuries in the five-match series.
Rohit Sharma is another Indian batsman who brings out his best against the world champions, which is evident from the fact that five out of his 13 ODI hundreds have come up against them. Fresh from a good outing in Sri Lanka, where he came back from an injury break, Rohit will be raring to have a go against the Aussies. His partnerships with Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli at the top of the order could very well end up dictating the course of the series.
For long, Kuldeep Yadav had to suffice with a place on the bench as his wrist spin was seen as a surplus to the requirements of the Indian team. But ever since his debut against Australia in Dharmshala this year, Kuldeep has put in a string of good performances in the last six months in all the formats of the game. His returns in Sri Lanka series have ensured that Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin remain ‘rested’ for the Australian series as well. Another good show will further substantiate his claims of earning a permanent place in the XI ahead of Jadeja and Ashwin.
Manish Pandey too, would be another player who would look to use this series to cement his place in the XI. Having fallen behind the likes of Yuvraj, Ajinkya Rahane and Kedhar Jadhav in the pecking order, it seemed Pandey too would be forgotten like a certain Manoj Tiwary. However, his prolific run for India A kept in in selector’s radar, and his recent scores in the Sri Lankan series have only vindicated the call to bring him back to the ODI set up. In a series that it touted to be full with 350-plus scores, Pandey surely can do some damage to Australian bowlers figures, along with further establishing himself in the playing XI.
After a brief hiccup at the Champions Trophy final, where Bumrah’s failures even made it to the Jaipur traffic police billboards, he roared back into top form with 15 wickets in the five-match series against Sri Lanka. Bumrah would be a key player for India if they plan to restrict Smith and Co from coming up with huge totals. On a high after reaching career best rankings in ODIs, Bumrah should be hungry for more.
Australia’s captain Steve Smith would be the most important player for the team considering his proven ability to handle quality spin. His performances in the Test series earlier this season against the same opponents suggest Smith would remain a tough nut for India in the upcoming ODI series as well. Having played with many of his opposite numbers in the IPL as well, an in form Smith would surely strengthen Australia’s chances of winning the series.
Unlike his captain, James Faulkner hasn’t had the best of time coming into this series, having been dropped from the ODI squad for a large part of that time. He now returns to the fold against a team that he has previously enjoyed playing. Faulkner will be a big threat for India. His medium pace bowling mixed with off-cutters will surely trouble Indian batting line-up, while his power hitting at the bottom might also come in handy.
Pat Cummins, in the absence of Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc would get the opportunity to lead the pace attack along with Nathan Coulter-Nile. After a string of disappointing seasons where his body didn’t allow Cummins to showcase the talent that was visible to everyone, 2017 finally seems to be the year where Pat Cummins has played a significant number of matches without getting injured. His performances in the five-match ODI series would further help him stake a claim to travel to Brisbane for the first Ashes Test.
It was here in India that Glenn Maxwell first came into prominence after getting picked up by Mumbai Indians in 2013 editor of Indian Premier League (IPL). And in early 2017, Maxwell again did wonders as Test batsman against India. This time too, Maxwell would expect his sweet association with the subcontinent to continue. While he hasn’t still quite nailed the Test spot, his IPL record does suggest he will have no such problems when it comes to facing India.
Adam Zampa is Australia’s latest attempt at finding a quality spinner for their limited overs squad. While Zampa has showed his potential with noteworthy performances in domestic T20 leagues, his domestic form hasn’t yet translated onto the international arena. A series in India could be a golden opportunity for Zampa to improve his credentials and remove the defensive bowler tag that has stuck with him.