Having been completely outplayed in the ODI series, Team India’s confidence will be fragile going into the 3-match T20 series starting on the 26th of January. After an encouraging performance from the top-order in the 4th ODI and a win in the final ODI, things are looking slightly less gloomy for Team India. The arrival of young enterprising players like Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya could add an extra dimension to the team, with both players doing well in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Gujarat and Baroda respectively. Suresh Raina is also one who would want to cement his place in the team having missed out on the ODI squad with poor displays in the home series vs South Africa. This series also sees the return of veterans Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Ashish Nehra.
Australia is odds-on favourites to win the T20 series and with Shane Watson, Travis Head and Big Bash league’s Player of the tournament Chris Lynn all included in the team, expect some big hits throughout the series. With the T20 World Cup just about a month away, both teams will be itching to get a series win under their belt.
Here are the confirmed T20I squads
India: MS Dhoni (Captain), Virat Kohli (Vice-Captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh, R. Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishi Dhawan and Ashish Nehra.
Australia: Aaron Finch (Captain), Steve Smith (Vice-Captain), David Warner, Shane Watson, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Lynn, Matthew Wade, Scott Boland, Cameron Boyce, James Faulkner, John Hastings, Nathan Lyon, Kane Richardson, Shaun Tait and Andrew Tye.
As Team India makes the switch from ODI to T20 mode, here are the key battles to look forward to:
Glenn Maxwell vs Yuvraj Singh – In a face-off between the two biggest hitters in the sport, the battle between Glenn Maxwell and Yuvraj Singh will be key to deciding which team gets over the line and beyond. Glenn Maxwell would like to carry his good form from the ODI series, which saw him score 169 runs at a strike-rate of 126.1. Yuvraj meanwhile, returns to the Indian team on the back of scoring 346 runs at a strike-rate of 100.28 in six matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and 56 runs at a strike-rate of 107.69 in four matches in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Steven Smith vs Virat Kohli – The two golden boys of cricket – India’s superstar Virat Kohli and Australia’s Steven Smith will go head-to-head to outperform each other in every aspect of the game. In the recently concluded ODI series, Smith scored 315 runs at a strike-rate of 107.5 while Kohli scored 381 runs at a strike-rate of 99.21 averaging a staggering 76.2.
Both Kohli and Smith have the capability to turn matches on their own, and their wickets will be cherished by the bowlers, this series.Aaron Finch vs Rohit Sharma – The openers play a very important role in all forms of cricket. Aaron Finch and Rohit Sharma are no different, the challenge they face is huge at the start of the innings in a bid to put a big score on the board. Survive the new ball and the task for these two becomes much easier. Finch had a decent ODI series averaging 42.6 at a strike-rate of 93.42, while Rohit – the pick of the Indian batsmen, averaged 88.2 at a strike-rate of 101.61.