The Indian cricket team has reached Australia for a full-fledged tour. The Men in Blue had not played a single international match in eight months ahead of the Australian tour. Despite playing 14-16 matches in IPL 2020, the Indian players, especially the bowlers, looked off-colour in the ODI series.
On the contrary, most of the Australian players had a forgettable IPL season in the United Arab Emirates. But they dominated the visitors in the 50-overs format. It is pertinent to note that even before the COVID-19 break, the Indian team did struggle in the ODI format. New Zealand whitewashed them in the 3-match ODI series. And then, the Kiwis also blanked the Men in Blue in the ICC World Test Championship series.
India has already lost the first position on the ICC World Test Championship points table to the mighty Aussies. The upcoming 4-match series offers India an opportunity to return to the number one position. BCCI has named a star-studded squad for this series.
Here’s a SWOT Analysis of the Indian Test squad:
The fast-bowling attack is undoubtedly the biggest strength of India. Although Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Navdeep Saini could not match the expectations in the ODI series, they will perform better with the red ball. Bumrah and Shami had an excellent Test series in Australia last year.
The two right-arm fast bowlers were the architects of India’s historic Test series win against the hosts Down Under. Besides, Saini is a tall pacer who would extract good bounce from the surface. The absence of Ishant Sharma might hurt India’s chances, but they have a great back-up option in Umesh Yadav who might also play ahead of Saini after a good showing in the first warm-up game.
The Vidarbha speedster has immense experience now. He can even strike a few big shots with the bat. Adding Mohammed Siraj to the mix makes it a great fast-bowling unit. Thus, these five players will be crucial to India’s success.
For the first time in recent years, the batting department of the Indian Test team does not look so strong. Virat Kohli is present in the squad, but he will depart after the first Test match. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane will have the responsibility of shouldering the batting line-up.
Pujara has not played much cricket after the COVID-19 break, while Rahane had a forgettable IPL season with the Delhi Capitals. However, the latter showed great form scoring an unbeaten century in the warm-up game. Even Hanuma Vihari does not have enough match practice. Mayank Agarwal and KL Rahul will lead India’s charge here, with Rohit Sharma expected to join the squad. But he will most probably miss the first two Tests.
Still, this line-up will have to bring its ‘A’ game to the table to dominate Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson, and Pat Cummins on the Australian surfaces. Sean Abbott will be the player to watch out for from the Australian camp. Just like India, Australia has a solid fast-bowling line-up for this Test series.
This tour will be a great opportunity for Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw to regain their place in the international team. After some brilliant performances for India, both have struggled recently. The right-handed batsman would likely open the innings with Mayank Agarwal in the first Test match.
Meanwhile, the team management has hinted that Rishabh Pant will be the first-choice keeper in Tests outside India. Thus, these two youngsters will likely take the field at the Adelaide Oval. A solid performance against the Aussies will cement their place in the Indian Test team.
Also, they will be back in the reckoning for the other two formats. Also, KL Rahul is in the Test squad after a long time. He will have the opportunity to bat in the middle-order after Kohli leaves Australia
The biggest threat to the Indian Test team in this series is inexperience. All players have not played Test cricket in the last nine months. Plus, a majority of the squad has not played Test cricket in Australia. On top of that, the Australians have a full-strength squad with Steve Smith and David Warner returning.
Both teams will be keen to gain momentum by winning the pink-ball Test in Adelaide. The Australian stars have played a good amount of pink-ball matches recently. On the other side, India has played only one day-night Test, where Bangladesh largely did not test their skills.
As mentioned before, Ishant Sharma’s absence will decrease India’s chances. Also, India has not played an overseas Test without Virat Kohli in the last many years. Thus, this series will prove to be a massive challenge for the Indian Test squad. The first ICC World Test Championship match between Australia and India will start on 17th December.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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