India will host the Australian side for two T20s and five ODIs, starting from Sunday, February 24 as India will take on Australia for the first T20I match at Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy stadium in Visakhapatnam.
After highly successful tours of New Zealand and Australia, Team India are back in action as they take on the Australians in the first of two T20s.
This will be India’s last international outing before the team shifts to Indian Premier League (IPL) mode. The Cricket World Cup will begin soon after the IPL. India will be considering this series as a warm-up for the World Cup and it will also be the last chance for many players who are still trying to make it to the World Cup squad.
India suffered a major injury blow just three days before the start of the series. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has been nursing a back injury for a while now, has been ruled out of the series and he will be replaced by Ravindra Jadeja. India should field their strongest unit with Krunal Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal handling the spin duties. Virat Kohli will return to lead the side after having been rested for the NZ series along with Jasprit Bumrah.
Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul should play alongside Bumrah to round off the bowling unit. Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been given much-needed rest and filling his boots will be young spinner Mayank Markande. The inclusion of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant could lead to Dinesh Karthik and Vijay Shankar on the bench.
For Australia though, many fresh faces rejoin the squad after a good Big Bash League season. Players like D’Arcy Short and Kane Richardson will be eager to prove their worth in order to book a spot in the World Cup squad. Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis are heading into the series on the back of a highly successful BBL campaign, while Aaron Finch would aim to rediscover his form after under-par performances over the last month.
Adam Zampa should be the lone spinner in the playing XI, while Pat Cummins and Jason Behrendorff are most likely to yield the new ball. Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the upcoming series while his namesake Mitchell Marsh has been left out of the squad. Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake are the other two players missing from the lineup.
Possible Playing XI:
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli(c), KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, MS Dhoni(wk), Krunal Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Mayank Markande
Australia: Aaron Finch(c), D Arcy, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Alex Carey(wk), Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nil, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon