Why India are favourites to beat Australia in ODI and T20 series

Virat Kohli Captain of India and Aaron Finch (c) of Australia during the 1st One day International match between India and Australia held at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai on the 14th Jan 2020. Photo by Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for BCCI

Two of the world’s most dominant cricketing outfits will lock horns all summer long, and we could be in for some thrilling matches as India takes on Australia starting with the ODI series next week.

In a summer down under like no other, Virat Kohli led India square off with Australian, sniffing a chance to win another white-ball series in Australia. Given their recent results in ODI and T20 series in Australia, it won’t be wrong to say that Virat Kohli and Co start as favourites to win the ODI and T20 series. Interestingly, the last time the Men in Blue visited down under in 2018-19, they clinched the three-match 50-overs series 2-1 to add to their past wins.

Another telling aspect is that Australia’s one-day international squad might not come together until the morning of the first match. India’s players on the other hand have spent the entire quarantine in the same hotel, training and living together ahead of a blockbuster summer of cricket.

Alongside speedster Pat Cummins, Australian superstars David Warner and Steve Smith are also quarantining and the fast bowler said both were looking in fine fettle ahead of the summer.

Six games in 12 days is an intense start to the summer for the likes of Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner, who are automatic selections across all formats and have been bouncing from bubble to bubble since the UK tour.

Indian cricket team.

India in Australia: Australia’s bio-bubble conundrum

Given this week’s COVID-19 outbreak in Adelaide and the resulting closure of some state borders has led to a host of Australia’s players flying to Sydney early ahead of the first ODI at the SCG on November 27.

CA made the call to move personnel early after players returning from the domestic cricket hub in Adelaide were subject to changed border conditions following the COVID outbreak in the city. Given the uncertainty surrounding the Adelaide cluster, CA decided to get players to Sydney early in case of further border closures. The remainder of Australia’s white-ball squad is due to assemble in Sydney on Sunday.

This raises question marks about Australia’s preparedness for the Notably, much of Australia’s limited-overs squad has been hopping between bio-secure bubbles since touching down in England in late August.

The team was stationed in bubbles in Southampton and Manchester on Australia’s white-ball tour of the UK before flying to the UAE for the IPL, where the players quarantined and remained in the bubble with their respective IPL franchise.

India in Australia: India’s batting crucial

Having played 48 one-dayers in Australia, India have won only 12 and lost 34 times. However, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the only Indian captains to have won a series in Australia, comprising three or fewer teams.

Under Dhoni, India won the 2007/08 Commonwealth Bank Series. Meanwhile, Kohli led India to a maiden bilateral series victory in Australia (2019). India will be missing the services of talisman Rohit Sharma, who is the leading run-scorer in ODIs against Australia with 2,208 to his name in 40 ODIs.

In the limited-overs team, the presence of players like Kohli, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya means that India will be able to up the ante in the middle overs and at the death. With the inclusion of Sanju Samson, things will only get better for India on the batting front.

Overall, India has three batsmen amongst the ten most prolific run-getters in T20I cricket since World T20, 2016 – Kohli, Rahul and Dhawan (Pakistan is the only other team who also has three).

The appetite of the Indian top-order to score big and at a rapid pace are the two mantras for India’s considerable success while batting second.
As far as the bowling record is concerned, off-spinner Ravindra Jadeja tops the wickets tally against Australia among active Indian players. He owns 27 scalps against them, including the best match haul of 3/35.

On the pace front, if sources in BCCI are to be believed, Bumrah and Shami’s workload management is paramount for head coach Ravi Shastri and bowling coach Bharath Arun.
There is a school of thought that with Bumrah and Shami both being integral to India’s Test match plans, the management (head coach Ravi Shastri, captain Virat Kohli and bowling coach Bharat Arun) will not risk playing them in six back to back games in only 12 days.
Over the past couple of seasons, India’s bowling has been a revelation– not only have the bowlers been very restrictive but also attacked the opposition batsmen and picked up heaps of wickets.

India’s wicket-taking prowess can be further gauged by the collective bowling average and strike rate of the team.

Considering all these factors, India will have an upper hand over the hosts and should start as favourites in ODI and T20 series.