The much awaited Australia v India ODI Series 2016 is all set to begin! The 1st ODI is scheduled on January 12 at Perth, and this would be the first time the two teams shall face each other since the semi final of the 2015 World Cup. While Australia would be high on morale after beating the West Indies in the recent Test series, India shall be buoyed by the back to back victories in the two warm up games against Western Australia XI.
India’s chance to seek redemption for World Cup loss
Less than a year ago, India’s dream run in the World Cup was put to an abrupt end by the Aussies. And the Indians now have the perfect chance to turn the tables on their familiar opponents. The two comprehensive victories against Western Australia XI in the warm up games ought to have demonstrated India’s potential to crash the Aussie party in their backyard. While Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin have been in top notch form in the last few months, the encouraging signs from youngsters like Barinder Sran also add weight to India’s charge this time. The last minute hamstring injury to Mohammed Shami, which has forced him out of the tour, might upset India’s plans to some extent. However, a more-than-capable replacement in the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar can soothe the anxiety adequately. After all, it’s all about craftily putting the ball in the right areas – and, as his recent IPL performances show, Bhuvi is quite good at that!
Even though clouds of inconsistency continue to hover over the Indian batting unit, the top 4 batsmen have been amongst the runs in the recent past. Both openers – Rohit and Dhawan – scored half centuries in the warm up games. A question that persists in Indian batting is the position of skipper Dhoni in the line up. It would be interesting to see whether to sticks to his newfound mojo at No 4 or goes back to his traditional No 6 slot.
Australia on a roll, home advantage at disposal
After a few years of tumult, following the end of their golden era of cricket, the Aussies have finally reestablished their hegemony at home. Even though the absence of Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Johnson is likely to hurt the Aussies, they still have the power to pack a punch with the available pool of players. Steven Smith’s inspiring leadership, complemented by the batting firepower, shall pose a tough challenge for the visitors. The Indian bowling attack is especially vulnerable to the fury of Warner, Finch and Maxwell, as was aptly demonstrated in the World Cup semi final last year. Pacers Scott Boland and Joel Paris are expected to make their debut at the WACA on Tuesday.