India vs Australia: Unsolved opening puzzle, Virat Kohli's batting position in focus as hosts have task cut out in first ODI

Virat Kohli said he has no hesitation coming down the order to ensure that KL Rahul's consistency and Shikhar Dhawan's experience are both accommodated in the Indian playing XI.

Press Trust of India, Jan 14, 2020 08:00:38 IST

Mumbai: With skipper Virat Kohli stepping in to resolve India's opening puzzle, the formidable hosts will look to ensure that their enviable home run remains intact against a full-strength Australia when the two teams clash in an ODI series starting on Tuesday.

Kohli said he has no hesitation coming down the order to ensure that KL Rahul's consistency and Shikhar Dhawan's experience are both accommodated in the Indian playing XI.

India vs Australia: Unsolved opening puzzle, Virat Kohlis batting position in focus as hosts have task cut out in first ODI

Virat Kohli and his other teammates during a training session. AP

"Big possibility. I would be very happy to do so. Look I am not possessive about where I play. I am not insecure about where I bat," Kohli said.

At a time when bilateral ODI series are fast losing relevance, the three-match rubber between two top teams could give a fresh lease of life to the format.

The high-voltage rivalries that fans enjoy will be back as Rohit Sharma's elegance will be pitted against enforcer David Warner while the Virat Kohli vs Steve Smith duel will resume in earnest.

India's hungry-for-wickets pace attack led by Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini is ready to test the Australians with subtle variations.

On the other hand, IPL's costliest foreign recruit Pat Cummins, the crafty Kane Richardson and the ever-dependable Mitchell Starc will leave no stone unturned to make life uncomfortable for Kohli and his men.

Alex Carey's gutsy batting and faultless glove-work will face the challenge of Rishabh Pant's flair.

The young Marnus Labuschagne, easily the most exciting talent spreading his wings on the international cricket map with some stellar performances in the Test arena, would like to replicate his form in the shorter formats.

On current form, Rahul was miles ahead to partner Rohit Sharma at the top of the order but Dhawan has had a phenomenal record in white ball cricket against the Aussies.

In fact, in their last meeting in the ODI World Cup, it was Dhawan's superb hundred that paved the way for an easy victory for the Indians.

But that was a good seven months back and Dhawan, since then, endured a spate of injuries. He also lost form only to regain a bit of it by scoring a half-century in the final T20 against Sri Lanka.

During World Cup, till Dhawan was around, KL Rahul batted at No.4 as a stop-gap solution but Shreyas Iyer has made the slot his own with a string of good scores.

The Wankhede track is usually a belter and India will certainly not go with two wrist spinners considering the fate they met during the last home series in March, which India lost 2-3.

Kuldeep Yadav, who has a hat-trick against Australia, is likely to be preferred over Yuzvendra Chahal.

There is a strong possibility that this will be Kedar Jadhav's last ODI series for India unless the pint-sized Pune right-hander does something extra special.

With buzz being about his reluctance to bowl off-breaks in order to enhance his IPL career, a few good scores will be required to keep Ajinkya Rahane and Suryakumar Yadav out of equation when the Indian team for the ODI series in New Zealand is announced on 19 January.

Squads:

India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (Wicket-keeper), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami.

Australia: Aaron Finch (Captain), Alex Carey (Wicket-keeper), Patrick Cummins, Ashton Agar, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Marnus Labuschange, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Ashton Turner, David Warner and Adam Zampa.

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2020 08:00:38 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 3935 92
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7748 121
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 South Africa 5193 110
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8366 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 5568 265
4 South Africa 4720 262
5 India 10645 260
6 New Zealand 6056 252