There is a lot of excitement around Australia’s tour of India 2019. It’s a short tour that is going to comprise of two T20 internationals and five One Day Internationals. The two T20 internationals are of little significance in an ODI World Cup year by themselves and we suspect both teams are going to use them to continue building towards the ICC World Cup 2019 itself.
India dominated Australia in Australia a little over a month ago and there is no doubt that they are going to start favorites. Australia should never be counted out, though, and is bringing a full strength side. Yes, David Warner and Steve Smith are still missing but injuries have meant that both of them may not be available for the World Cup either.
Most of Australia’s players are well-versed in the conditions having played a lot of IPL and so they are not going to be easy to beat under any circumstances.
Let’s take a look at the strengths and potential weaknesses of both sides.
India is one of the strongest sides in the world and that is even more amplified when they are playing at home. This is true for both the T20 and the ODI format. Most of India’s personnel is the same for the T20’s and the ODI’s and this is why they can be evaluated together.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli are going to be playing together for the entire series and this is where India’s wins most of its matches. Its top-3 is the best in the world with all three batsmen being proven match-winners.
Virat Kohli is a century scoring machine in the ODI’s while Rohit Sharma is not far behind either. These two have been head and shoulders above the rest of the batsmen in the world over the last five years. Shikhar Dhawan is also a force to be reckoned with although his consistency is not quite as good as the other two.
Never the less, India is going to be hoping that the three of them can find prime form ahead of the ICC World Cup 2019.
The problems for India remains the same as ever. Amabati Rayadu, MS Dhoni, Lokesh Rahul, and Vijay Shankar are going to be fighting for a place in the middle order. Hardik Pandya, one of the players integral to India’s ICC World Cup 2019 challenge is also going to be missing in action.
Finding more about these players in these seven matches is going to be of prime importance to India.
The selectors have also deemed it fit to return Jasprit Bumrah to international cricket. As one of the most important players to emerge for India in the last decade or so, Bumrah’s workload has been managed very carefully. He is the number one ranked bowler in ODI cricket and is going to playing both the T20’s and ODi’s against Australia.
He leads a full-strength attack that also contains Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, and Mohammad Shami. Siddharth Kaul is going to be playing instead of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar in the T20’s and the first two ODI’s.
Krunal Pandya is a part of the T20 format while Ravindra Jadeja has been called up as a replacement for the injured Hardik Pandya in the ODI’s.
India has a very well-balanced side with some all-rounders to choose from and excellent specialists in almost all the fields. The real challenge for them is going to be about identifying its first choice playing eleven in the last five international ODI’s it will play before the ICC World Cup 2019 begins.
Strengths: India’s top-order batting might is unmatched, Jasprit Bumrah returns to add to a very skilled bowling lineup, wicket-taking wrist spinners
Weaknesses: India’s middle order, lack of power hitting ability in the death overs, unclear selection policies
Australia is going to come into this series as definite underdogs, especially after they failed to beat India in any of the formats on India’s tour to Australia which ended last month. Still, cricket is a funny game and turnarounds can happen faster than you would expect.
Australia has also just thrashed Sri Lanka in the test series and its players played a lot of T20 cricket in the Big Bash. We genuinely believe that the Australians have a good shout of winning one or both the T20 internationals against India.
The real challenge is going to come in the longer format of the games.
There are a couple of factors that Australia will have to deal with to win here. The first is the spin. They are going to be bombarded with a lot of spin in conditions that should help suit the spinners quite a lot. Scoring against and not losing wickets to Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal is going to be a large part of winning here in India.
Australia has picked a side with some players that have been doing well for it in the ODI format and some that have shown brilliant form in the BBL. Darcy Short makes a comeback to the ODI side while Ashton Turner gets a chance to play at the international level as well.
We think Turner could a bolter for the Australian ICC World Cup 2019 Squad, assuming he gets to play in the first eleven here. Kane Richardson, Glenn Maxwell, and Marcus Stoinis also did very well in the BBL and will be full of confidence coming into this series.
For Australia to do well, its top order must fire. Aaron Finch has been out of form for quite some time now, Alex Carey has not performed to expectations, and Usman Khawaja’s position in the ODI side is looking a little dicey to us as well.
Shaun Marsh played very well against India in the series just concluded and is going to be leading the batting once again.
Playing in India can mean setting and chasing down huge totals so Australia will have to hope that its batting lineup performs at its best.
Pat Cummins is going to be a very valuable addition to the ODI side and we are certain he is going to be part of the Australian World Cup 2019 squad as well. He, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Jason Behrendorff form a strong seam bowling contingent, while Nathan Lyon and Adam Zampa are in competition for the spinners spot.
Strengths: Pace bowling attack is world-class, plenty of all-rounders to provide flexibility to the side, and power hitting abilities that are far greater than what India possesses
Weaknesses: Top-order has been out form, the looming return of David Warner and Steve Smith is going to put pressure on the players, spin bowling options look a bit thin.
We think both the sides have a strong T20 lineup and enough match winners in them to share the series. It is strange that there are only two matches that are going to be played between the two sides instead of the usual three to ensure a winner, but we believe it is likely each team grabs a win each.
India vs Australia T20 series 2019 Prediction: 1-1
India at home is pretty close to the hardest challenge any team can come across at the moment. The fact that Australia is also going to be missing two of its best batsmen does not help. India has some problems in its side, but those are just a few loose ends waiting to be tied up. The core of the side is set and is strong enough to beat this Australian side handsomely.
India vs Australia ODI series 2019 Prediction: 4-1 to India