Australia and India last met each other in the semi final of the Cricket World Cup 2015. Just ten months later, the two teams are back to the battleground, with India touring Australia for 5 ODIs and 3 T20s in January 2016. Both teams shall go into the contest with fresh memories of emphatic test series wins. While Australia have thumped West Indies recently, India blanked the Proteas 3-0 at home last month. We take a look at the key players who are expected to be the crucial determinants of India’s performance in this series.
#1. Rohit Sharma
Despite registering topsy turvy figures in 2015, Sharma had begun the year with a bang! And that too in Melbourne! His memorable 138 in India’s 1st match of the India-Australia-England Tri series remains one of the most talked about innings of 2015. To bolster his record in Australia, Rohit had then followed this century up with a masterly 137 against Bangladesh, in the quarter final of the World Cup. Among the most recent accomplishments of Rohit, mention can be made of the blazing 150 he scored against South Africa at Kanpur in October, last year.
#2. Virat Kohli
Even though the skipper of the Indian Test team did not have an outstanding 2015, Virat Kohli still remains indispensable to India’s chances of success in Australia. A heroic 138 in the 4th ODI against South Africa, few months back, has been considered as a potent signal for Kohli’s return to form. Memories of smashing a match winning and awe inspiring 133* against Sri Lanka at Hobart in 2012 ought to keep Kohli agile during the upcoming series.
#3. Ajinkya Rahane
Despite his perceived inconsistencies in the shorter format of the game, Rahane remains an invaluable asset for India, especially in overseas conditions. The fact that he scored 3 important half centuries in the recently concluded home ODI series against South Africa underscores his utility as in the lower middle order. Besides, Rahane had also been in top notch form during the Test series between India and Australia in December 2o14.
#4. Mohammed Shami
Out of action since the World Cup semi final against Australia in March 2015, Mohammed Shami was instrumental to India’s dream run in the mega event. With a tally of 87 wickets from 47 ODIs, Shami has been hailed as a prodigy by many a cricket expert in the world. Come the series against Australia, and he would have a valuable opportunity to reestablish his credentials in ODI cricket, as the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack.
#5. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ending the year 2015 at the pinnacle of the ICC Test Rankings for Bowlers, Ravichandran Ashwin is expected to be the lynchpin of India’s spin attack in the near future. 13 wickets in the World Cup 2015, while bowling on the pace friendly turfs of South Africa, must have been quite a morale booster for India’s lead spinner. And his role in the middle overs in the upcoming ODIs against Australia perhaps needs no special mention.
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