With the 16th edition of the Asia Cup concluding with a emphatic victory over Sri Lanka in the final on Sunday, it’s time for the Indian team to shift their focus on the three-match ODI series against Australia.
The Australia ODIs begin on Friday and along with the World Cup warm-up fixtures, will help Team India add final touches in their preparation for the showpiece event.
The two sides had squared off in a three-match ODI series earlier this year right after the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which the Aussies ended up winning 2-1 — their first series win on Indian soil in four years. They will be eyeing back-to-back wins when they arrive in India following the conclusion of their tour of South Africa.
As for the members of the Australian contingent who could pose a key threat to India in the series, India and Tamil Nadu opener Abhinav Mukund singled out left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc and leg-spinner Adam Zampa.
“I think Adam Zampa and Mitchell Starc will be the biggest threats to India. The way Zampa has bowled against India, not necessarily in the TATA IPL, but when he turns up for Australia, he’s a different beast altogether. I think it’s because of the way he’s used and the protection he has from the seamers around him.
“If they’ve got Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, and Josh Hazlewood, I think Adam Zampa becomes even more crucial. He’s always bowled well against India. He’s bowled well against Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. I feel India should take on Zampa more and understand that he’s not a big turner of the ball. He’s brought in a variation of a googly off late, but it’s more of a toppy, like how Yuzvendra Chahal bowls it,” Mukund said on JioCinema’s Home of the Blues show.
Former India cricketer Abhishek Nayar, on the other hand, made a comparison between the all-rounders in the two squads and how it might affect the outcome of the three-ODI series.
“The Australian contingent has more all-rounders who can contribute with the bat and ball and add a lot of power. On the flip side, the Indian all-rounders will take their time. They can be aggressive but that is only after they’re settled in. I feel like that’s something India is going to be wary about,” said the Kolkata Knight Riders assistant coach.
Mohali hosts the first India-Australia ODI on Friday, 22 September, just five days after the Asia Cup final. The action then shifts to Indore, which hosts the second ODI on Sunday, 24 September. Rajkot hosts the final ODI on Wednesday, 27 September — three days before India’s World Cup warm-up clash against defending champions England.