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SKY-led India eye fresh start in Australia T20s

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 22, 2023 15:18 IST
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IMAGE: Can captain Suryakumar Yadav get back among the runs in the first T20 International against Australia on Thursday? Photograph: BCCI

Suryakumar Yadav will have to suppress the massive disappointment of a World Cup final defeat somewhere in the deeper confines of his heart while leading a sprightly bunch of 'Gen-Next' stars against a strong Australian side in a five-match T20 International series, starting in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.


The scars of defeat are too deep and it would take time for those wounds to heal.

With just around 96 hours of turnaround time from World Cup to the next series, it hardly leaves Suryakumar with any chance of introspection as he gets ready to play his favourite format.

As the captain of the side, he will not only want to win the series but also check out some of the best young Indian exponents of the shortest format, who will be on trial for next year's ICC T20 World Cup in June and July in the West Indies and US.

IMAGE: The young Yashasvi Jaiswal will be aiming to continue his dream start in international cricket. Photograph: BCCI

The young guns like Yashasvi Jaiswal, Rinku Singh, Tilak Verma, Jitesh Sharma and not-so-young Mukesh Kumar have all made their international debuts in past few months but their first real Test will be against a very strong Australian T20 side which will have some of their World Cup heroes like opener Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, leg-spinner Adam Zampa and former skipper Steve Smith in its ranks.

Then there are IPL performers like Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Ellis, Tim David to name a few and even the T20 side, without its premier pacers, bears a formidable look under Matthew Wade, who will be leading in the series.

With skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and K L Rahul not being considered for the shortest format since the 2022 T20 World Cup semi-final defeat, one will get a real idea about the bunch of players, earmarked by the national selectors for next year's mega event.

Rinku has been pretty impressive in his short India stint so far and ditto for Yashasvi, Tilak and Mukesh, while Jitesh, despite his debut at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, will have to wait for his turn for a longer rope in presence of Ishan Kishan.

IMAGE: In the absence of the regulars, KKR's batting star Rinku Singh will take over the finisher's role in the Australia T20I series. Photograph: BCCI

Having played mediocre attacks of West Indies, Ireland and some of the 'B' grade sides at the Asian Games, it will be a trial by fire for these youngsters, who would like to make an impression in whatever chances they get during this series and two ensuing ones involving South Africa (away) and Afghanistan (home).

The Australian pace attack comprising Kane Richardson, Nathan Ellis, Sean Abbott  and left-armer Jason Behrendorff, is way better in terms of quality compared to what they have faced till now in their very short but eventful T2OI careers.

There are 11 T20 International games that India play before IPL 2023, which will be a two-month affair before the 'Men in Blue' hit the T20 World Cup mode.

Hence the next two months will be very important for these youngsters as they would like to further consolidate their spots for that World Cup.

How interim coach V V S Laxman works around the batting order will be interesting as someone like Shubman Gill is bound to comeback for the series against South Africa and there would be too many options at the top of the order.

IMAGE: CSK opener Ruturaj Gaikwad needs a good series with the bat to get back in reckoning for Team India. Photograph: BCCI

It is expected that Ruturaj Gaikwad and one among either Jaiswal or Ishan Kishan will be opening the batting, keeping the right-left combination in mind.

Suryakumar, who is the designated vice-captain when Hardik Pandya is there to lead the side, will bat at No. 3 or 4, depending on whether the team management decides to play both Jaiswal and Kishan.

Unlike the ODI team, the T20I side has a bevy of left-handers, in fact seven of them -- Jaiswal, Kishan, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh along with all-rounders Axar Patel, Shivam Dube and Washington Sundar.

It is understood that T20 team's think-tank is looking at Rinku and Jitesh as the two designated finishers, one of whom is likely to get a slot.

However the biggest test of this series will be the bowlers. Ravi Bishnoi will get a number of games as selectors want to look beyond Yuzvendra Chahal while Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar and Arshdeep Singh will be rotated during the series.

All-rounder Axar Patel, having recovered from hamstring injury, is another key player with both bat and ball and is expected to play all five games in the series.



India: Suryakumar Yadav (captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad (vice-captain), Ishan Kishan (w/k), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma (w/k), Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dubey, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar, Shreyas Iyer (last two matches only).

Australia: Matthew Wade (captain), Aaron Hardie, Jason Behrendorff, Sean Abbott, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

Match Starts: 7pm IST.

Where to watch: The India vs Australia T20I series will be telecast live on Sports 18 channels. The live telecast will be streamed on the Jio Cinema app.

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