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Mohali ODI: Perfect platform for Surya, Iyer to test themselves against Aus

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 22, 2023 00:19 IST
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 Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer

Shreyas Iyer's dodgy match-fitness will be put to the ultimate test while Suryakumar Yadav's desperation to alter a dismal ODI record adds a fascinating sub-text to India's three-game series against Australia, which also serves as final dress rehearsal to the World Cup, beginning next month.

With pillars of Indian batting –- skipper Rohit Sharma and the brilliant Virat Kohli -- rested for the first two games along with lead spinner Kuldeep Yadav and premier all-rounder Hardik Pandya, it will be head coach Rahul Dravid's final chance to assess his bench strength.

Iyer and Suryakumar, two Mumbai batters with varying styles, are fighting their own little battles to be a part of the most important tournament of their lives.

The 28-year-old Iyer hasn't played much cricket in the last six months due to stress fracture surgery. A stiff back just before an Asia Cup match against Pakistan raised questions about his fitness.

As chairman of selectors Ajit Agarkar has said that Iyer is good to go in the three games, but whether his body will hold up for 100 overs during the three games over the next five days, will have to be seen.

As much as Ishan Kishan has done his bit, India will need Iyer, the proverbial slayer of spin bowling in the middle overs during the World Cup.

For Surya, literally ‘SKY' has been the limit in T20Is but before anything else, he needs an uncluttered mind about his role in ODI cricket.

In today's day and age, 27 ODIs are a lot and less than 25 average is neither a true reflection of his talent nor his capabilities.

Surya won't be a starter in playing XI during the World Cup but for his own good, he would want the team management to be assured that they didn't make a wrong choice. Tilak Varma is hot on his heels and at 33, he won't practically get a shot at another 50-over World Cup.

Ravichandran Ashwin's performance in the Australia ODIs could determine his chances to play in what will be his third and final ICC World Cup next month 

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin's performance in the Australia ODIs could determine his chances to play in what will be his third and final ICC World Cup next month. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

The quadriceps tear that left-arm spinner Axar Patel suffered has opened an unlikely door for 37-year-old Ravichandran Ashwin to play his third and what could likely be his last 50 over World Cup in case the former doesn't recover in time.

Two weeks back, Ashwin was not even in Indian team management's radar and now the crafty veteran and his younger state-mate Washington Sundar are locked in a battle for an outside chance to make it to the squad.

Going by the buzz, even if Ashwin doesn't do well in the upcoming games, is way ahead of Washington in terms of a probable chance of a look-in. Ashwin's battle against David Warner and Steve Smith could be a fan's delight.

The absence of Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya will give both Ashwin and Washington, a chance to showcase what they have to offer to the team.

But, there is every possibility that even if Ashwin does brilliantly, the team management will go with Axar if he recovers on time and plays the third ODI.

Usually, a small tear takes two weeks to heal and for a spinner, it is not a serious injury unlike for fast bowlers, where it takes more time before they can go full steam. Hence India will remain hopeful about getting Axar fit before the tournament proper starts.

Australia buoyed by Steve Smith's return, including that of captain Pat Cummins 

IMAGE: Australia buoyed by Steve Smith's return, including that of captain Pat Cummins. Photograph: Sarah Reed/Getty Images from the Rediff Archives 

With no Rohit at the top of the order, Ishan Kishan is likely to open with Shubman Gill while Kohli's place is taken by Iyer, who needs game time.

India's Asian Games-bound skipper Ruturaj Gaikwad is in the squad more as a cover and could be released after the second game as he would link up with T20 team flying to Hangzhou on September 28.

India haven't rested any of its fast bowlers but Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj may play two of the three games as three 50-over games have been slotted in five days and it also includes travel. Workload management of two pacers will be paramount.

Australia, the team to beat in the World Cup

Despite losing 2-3 to South Africa recently, Australia had a quality series.

Having won the last ODI series in India in March and being one of the international teams which has regularly cracked the 50-over code in sub-continent, there couldn't have been a better preparation going into a marquee event where both countries will incidentally meet again on October 8.

Travis Head's injury gave Marnus Labuschagne a chance which he has taken with both hands but it will be Australia's bowling attack that will be put to the test on some of the flattest of decks in the sub-continent.


India: KL Rahul (Captain, w/k), Ravindra Jadeja (Vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan (w/k), Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Prasidh Krishna.

Australia: Pant Cummins (Captain), Alex Carey (w/k), Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith, David Warner, Josh Heselwood, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanvir Sangha, Matt Short.

Match: Starts at 1.30 pm IST.

Where to watch: The India vs Australia ODI series will be telecast live on the Sports18 channels in India. The live telecast will be streamed on the Jio Cinema app.

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