Australia’s next assignment will be the highly-anticipated tour of India for the three-match ODI series which begins at Wankhede Stadium on January 14 before moving to Rajkot (January 17) and Bengaluru (January 19) for the remaining fixtures.
For Virat Kohli’s men who are currently encountering Sri Lanka in the three-match T20I series, it will a daunting task to overcome the five-time world champion’s challenge. It was Australia who emerged victorious (3-2) when these two sides last played an ODI series in India. Virat Kohli will be determined to showcase the Men in Blue’s domination at home by clinching the series having missed out last year despite a 2-0 advantage.
The battle was interesting last year, and it promises to be more intense this time with big guns Mitchell Starc, Steven Smith and David Warner making the cut. Both teams look strong across all departments hence we need to wait and watch as to how the action unfolds and who will emerge victorious this time. However, several Australian players who made a mark last time have been left out this time much to the surprise of fans.
Here are the three Australian players who were unlucky to have missed out from the ODI squad for the three-match ODI series:
1. Usman Khawaja
Khawaja had a memorable 2019 finishing the year as Australia’s second-highest run-getter (sixth overall) in ODIs with 1085 runs that include eight half-centuries and two centuries. A decent outing at the 2019 World Cup saw the southpaw finishing the tournament with 316 runs in nine innings.
The 33-year-old who was the star performer with the bat when Australia toured India early last year produced a Man of the Series-winning performance in the five-match ODI series which the visitors won 3-2. Khawaja amassed 383 runs at an average of 76.60 emerging as the highest run-getter of the series and was one of the major factors behind his team’s memorable series win despite trailing 0-2 after the first two games.
Sans David Warner and Steven Smith, Khawaja’s knocks at the top of the order set the foundation for the middle order take over. With Warner and D’Arcy Short making their way into the squad, the dependable Usman Khawaja has been left out this time. Considering his ODIs exploits throughout 2019 especially his performance against India, he was expected to make the cut. Sadly, it isn’t the case for Khawaja who like the fans will be surprised upon the omission.
2. Glenn Maxwell
Maxwell is an automatic choice when it comes to ODI or T20 Cricket. His wide range of shots and the ability to change the course of a game in no time make him a valuable limited-overs commodity. The 31-year-old’s familiarity with the Indian conditions- courtesy the IPL has given him the upper hand while encountering Men in Blue in their own backyard and he relishes the prospect of playing against them irrespective of the format.
The dashing all-rounder who had a poor 2019 World Cup campaign with just 177 runs in 10 innings has been in a great nick for Melbourne Stars in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL).
Maxwell was outstanding with the bat during Australia’s T20I series win (2-0) over India last year scoring 169 runs in the two-match series thereby emerging as the highest run-getter. Though he failed to replicate his performance (115 runs in five matches) in the five-match ODI series that followed, his knock at Bengaluru (113* off 55 balls) in the second T20I while chasing 191 runs proved his class and the ability to play under pressure on Indian pitches.
A player of his calibre might surely be missed by the Aussies in the upcoming ODI series and even the Indian fans would miss watching his heroics with the bat having seen more of it during the IPL.
3. Jhye Richardson
Well, this might be a bit surprising, but the young pacer was outstanding with the ball against India in ODIs last year. Richardson was Australia’s highest wicket-taker with six wickets in the three-match ODI series (India won 2-1) played in January 2019 when India toured Australia.
The 23-year-old followed it up with another impressive display of fast bowling when Australia toured India for the limited-overs series. Richardson who missed the first two ODIs which the Aussies lost, took eight wickets in the three games he played (third, fourth and fifth ODIs) and was one of the chief tormentors with the ball troubling the Indian batsmen with his pace, angle and accuracy.
He partnered well with Pat Cummins in those three must-win games and coincidentally Australia won all three matches he played thereby clinching the series 3-2. With Mitchell Starc making the ODI squad and the surprise inclusion of Josh Hazlewood who last played an ODI in November 2018 it has become difficult for the talented Jhye Richardson earn a spot this time.
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