Not many visiting teams appear as confident as Australia when it steps on the Indian turf. Notwithstanding India’s envious record at home, across formats, the Australians have not lost the T20 series in their last two visits. The trend could continue for the world champion in the three-match T20 series beginning on Tuesday.
Even without a rested David Warner, there is no dearth of resources in this line-up. The seriousness of the Australian think-tank could be gauged from the fact that initially, for this series, the selectors made only one change - Cameroon Green for Warner - from the team selected for the World Cup.
But injuries to all-rounders Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis forced the selectors to play safe. They named Daniel Sams, Sean Abbott and Nathan Ellis as replacements.
Still, this team with five specialist batsmen, five all-rounders and five specialist bowlers has the looks of a winner. No wonder, the selectors almost retained the 2021 World Cup-winning side with batter Tim David being the most talked about inclusion.
Raised in Western Australia, David played 14 Twenty20 internationals for Singapore. After creating a flutter in franchise leagues all over the world, David was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore before being acquired for Rs. 8.25 crore by Mumbai Indians in the auction last March.
However, after two early failures, David was benched and later included for the second half by which time Mumbai Indians’ chances of the playoffs were over. David did have a role to play in those late victories for his franchise. Now, the 26-year-old is back to prove himself.
Australia, having drawn the 2017-18 series 1-1 and won the 2018-19 clashes 2-0, is looking good to test India’s preparedness for the World Cup.
With many members of this Australian squad familiar with the conditions here due to their IPL experience, India could find it tough. Players like skipper Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, and Kane Richardson, among others, have spent enough time in India to know what it takes to succeed.
In the three matches spread over six days, the home batters face a formidable Aussie attack. Clearly, the home advantage looks miniscule when challenged by a balanced team like the one Australia has managed to put together.
In the last edition of the World Cup, Australia did not start as the favourite but ended up as the worthy champion. The team eyes something similar here to return home with loads of confidence ahead of its title-defence next month.