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After Test high, Men in Blue begin World Cup warm-up with Pandya side-show

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The speak of problematic workforce tradition and dropping key members to controversy has all the time been within the backdrop of India’s ongoing tour of Australia. Nonetheless, it was the hosts who’ve been dwelling below the shadown of dropping their greatest gamers to surprising controversy to this point. Now it appears the Indian facet is catching up. 

Whereas the main target ought to have been on superb tuning their World Cup preparations, India have been hit onerous by a sudden controversy after the excessive of the Check triumph. India have misplaced two key gamers in Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul after they had been suspended from cricket pending inquiry for his or her remarks on ladies throughout a TV present. These feedback have been dubbed inappropriate by skipper Virat Kohli and slammed as sexist by many. 

Whereas Pandya was a certainty within the taking part in XI for the primary ODI in Sydney until the controversy, Rahul was not in rivalry to play within the series-opener on Saturday.

Skipper Virat Kohli on Friday condemned the feedback made by his two teammates and mentioned the workforce doesn’t align with the “particular person opinions”.

“The 2 involved gamers (have) felt what has gone unsuitable and so they have understood the magnitude of what is occurred,” he mentioned within the pre-match press convention.

No Pandya means new taking part in mixture

Pandya’s absence because the all-rounder gives essential stability to the ODI facet together with his potential to bowl 10 overs in addition to bat within the center order. His absence now implies that India should rejig their assault. 

With Jasprit Bumrah rested for this sequence, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is more likely to be joined by Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed if Kohli desires to go in with a three-man tempo assault.

There’s a sprinkling of grass on the SCG pitch and it might push the Indian skipper to go for a three-pacer and two-spinner mixture.

Kohli additionally acknowledged that, in Pandya’s absence, Ravindra Jadeja would step up because the all-rounder. He would companion up with left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav as India’s five-pronged assault, with Kedar Jadhav fulfilling any part-time bowling duties if wanted.

Deal with MS Dhoni, Ambati Rayudu

With the 2 openers, and Kohli at quantity three, the remaining batting line-up picks itself. Jadhav, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu will kind the center order, and there will likely be eager curiosity within the latter’s kind.

Dhoni had an off-colour 2018, managing 275 runs in 20 ODIs at common 25 with no half-century. Whereas this can be a meagre return for a batsman of his stature, the worrying side is Dhoni’s strike-rate of 71.42, which is remarkably decrease than his ODI profession strike-rate of 87.89.

India introduced in Rayudu for the all-important quantity 4 function, and for the reason that Asia Cup final September, have given him a long term within the center order. On this interim, Rayudu scored 392 runs in 11 ODIs within the Asia Cup and in opposition to West Indies at common 56 together with 100 and three half-centuries.

Whereas he put in a extra constant exhibiting than any of the opposite beforehand tried contenders, this run got here in circumstances completely different from these in England. As such, how Rayudu fares on this twin tour of Australia and New Zealand will likely be a more in-depth illustration of whether or not the Indian workforce has lastly cracked the quantity 4 quandary.

Related middle-order points plagued the guests once they final toured right here for an ODI contest, dropping 4-1 in January 2016 when Dhoni was nonetheless captain. Sharma and Kohli topped the charts with 441 and 381 runs within the five-match sequence, respectively, whereas Dhawan additionally scored 287 runs.

However there have been no sizeable contributions from the center, and solely Manish Pandey’s combating hundred within the remaining ODI had saved India from a 5-Zero scoreline.

India’s ODI file in Australia is sort of poor. Other than the 1985 World Championship and 2008 CB Sequence wins, they’ve misplaced 35 out of 48 ODIs performed in opposition to Australia on their dwelling soil.

Australia play with out 5 high gamers

The absence of David Warner (220 runs in three matches in 2016) and Steve Smith (315 runs in 5 matches in 2016) would possibly assist them once more although, as additionally the absence of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, with the trio rested from this sequence.

Australia have named their taking part in eleven forward of the primary ODI, with Nathan Lyon that includes because the lone spinner and Peter Siddle returning to this format for the primary time since 2010. Keeper-batsman Alex Carey will open in ODI cricket for the primary time, and can pair up with skipper Aaron Finch, whereas Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb will kind the center order.

The hosts bat deep with Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell lined up at numbers six and 7, albeit their tempo assault appears weak on paper. With Siddle returning to the format after eight years, left-arm pacer Jason Behrendorff will make his ODI debut on Saturday.

India vs Australia: Groups

India: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj.

Australia (taking part in XI): Aaron Finch (c), Alex Carey (wk), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff.

Match begins 7.50 am IST. 

(With PTI Inputs)

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