India vs. Australia 2020: Top 5 players to watch out for in the ODI series

Renin Wilben Albert Updated: 21 November, 2020, 2:13 PM IST

The Indian cricket team is currently in Australia for what would be a long and gruelling tour. The series will feature three ODIs, as many T20Is and four Tests. The tour will kick-off with the first of the three one-dayers at Sydney on November 27. The second ODI will also be held at the SCG on November 29, while the final one-day match will take place at Manuka Oval on December 2. The last time India visited Australia, they clinched the one-day series 2-1. However, the Aussies will be confident this time round with a stronger squad. As India and Australia prepare to face-off in the ODIs, we profile five players to watch out for.

1. Virat Kohli

Indian captain Virat Kohli won’t be available for a majority of the Test matches. Hence, he would be keen to make an impression in the limited-overs matches. During the 2018-19 series, Kohli had a mixed run with 153 runs in three matches. After being dismissed for only three in the first ODI, he followed it up with a century at Adelaide and 46 in the series-clinching match at Melbourne. Kohli has an excellent record against the Aussies in Australia. In 15 matches, he has registered 629 runs at an average of 44.92 with three hundreds. The Indian skipper will be keen to maintain his impressive record Down Under.

2. KL Rahul

In the absence of Rohit Sharma, there would be additional responsibility on KL Rahul, who has been elevated to the vice-captain’s position. Rahul has arrived in Australia on the back of an exceptional IPL 2020, where he was the leading run-scorer with 670 runs in 14 games for Kings XI Punjab. The challenge though would be of a different kind in Australia. Last time India were in Australia, Rahul was sent back home mid-day owing to the controversial comments he made on a talk show. He comes to Australia with an enhanced reputation and will be keen to build on the same.

3. Jasprit Bumrah

Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah will undoubtedly be India’s trump card with the ball in Australia across formats. Speaking of the ODIs, Bumrah did not feature in any of the matches last time, but in the latest series, he will be a sure starter. Bumrah goes in with yet another excellent run in IPL 2020. He claimed 27 wickets in 15 games at a strike rate of 13.33 and an economy of 6.73 with two four-wicket hauls. If Bumrah shines in the one-dayers with his yorkers and variations, India should do well.

4. David Warner

At home, the aggressive David Warner is among the most dangerous batsmen in the world. On his day, he can tear apart any opposition. And, over the years, he has taken a liking to the Indian attack, particularly in familiar conditions. In 10 ODIs against India in Australia, the left-hander has scored 391 runs at an average of 43.44 with one hundred. Warner had yet another excellent run in IPL 2020 with 548 runs in 16 matches at a strike rate of 134.64. He will be high on confidence taking on India on his home turf.

5. Pat Cummins

Aussie paceman Pat Cummins did not have a memorable run in IPL 2020 despite being purchased for a record Rs 15.5 crore by Kolkata Knight Riders. He managed to pick up only 12 wickets in 14 games at a strike rate of 26. There was in fact a period where he went wicketless for a few games in a stretch. In Australia, Cummins has played only one match against India. Overall as well, Cummins hasn’t done that well against India, with 21 scalps in 15 ODIs at an average of 33.71 with one five-wicket haul. Being the leader of the attack, Cummins would be desperate to set the record straight.

Get Daily Updates From CricToday

Subscribe and get the latest Sports News delivered to your inbox.

Timing to perfection - Virat Kohli sweating hard in nets ahead of 1st ODI against Australia - Watch

Garima Kotroo Updated: 26 November, 2020, 5:46 PM IST

The Men in Blue are training hard in the nets for the limited-overs series against Australia which is set to kick-off from November 27. Virat Kohli’s men recently entered the secure bio-bubble after completing their mandatory 14-day quarantine in the Kangaroo nation.

India will miss the services of swashbuckling opener Rohit Sharma, who is yet to recover from his hamstring injury. On the other hand, skipper Virat will also return home after playing the Day-Night Test in Adelaide to be with his wife Anushka Sharma for the birth of their first child.

On the eve of the opening ODI, the BCCI shared a video on its official Twitter handle in which Virat can be seen practicing in the nets and preparing himself for the gruelling action against Aussies. In the clip, the 32-year-old was looking in good touch with the bat as he played some brilliant strokes.

The caption of the video reads, “Timing them to perfection! #TeamIndia skipper @imVkohli getting batting ready ahead of the first ODI against Australia.”

With 1910 runs, the Delhi-born star is India's third-highest run-scorer for India against Kangaroos so far.

Under the leadership of Virat Kohli, the Indian team clinched its maiden Test series on Australian soil in the 2018-19 season.

Watch: MS Dhoni's impromptu dance moves with Sakshi, Ziva, Friends

Vedant Yadav Updated: 26 November, 2020, 5:23 PM IST

Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni was grooving into some impromptu dance moves with his wife, Sakshi Singh Dhoni, and daughter, Ziva, in a video posted by his Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Chennai Super Kings.

"Can we stop ourselves from smiling while watching this? Definitely Not," CSK captioned the video on Twitter. Dhoni and his family were seen surrounded by friends at a celebratory party as they all danced seamlessly around one another.

After announcing his retirement from all forms of international cricket earlier this year, Dhoni took part in the recently concluded IPL season. Despite CSK failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the tournament's history, Dhoni assured that he'll continue as the skipper of CSK next season.

Dhoni is one of the most successful captains in the cash-rich league, having led CSK to three IPL triumphs since the inaugural season in 2008. He is also the 8th all-time top-scorer of IPL, having scored 4632 runs from 204 matches at a strike rate of 136.75 with 22 half-centuries.

Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar pay heartfelt tributes to victims of 26/11 terror attack

Garima Kotroo Updated: 26 November, 2020, 5:06 PM IST

As India mourns the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, several Indian cricketers have paid the heartfelt tributes to all those families and security personnel who lost their lives in the dreadful carnage.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli took to his official Twitter handle and paid homage to the martyrs.

“Remembering the innocent lives we lost and our bravehearts who saved many during the 26/11 attacks. You will always be remembered and will forever be in our hearts,” the 32-year-old batsman tweeted.

Meanwhile, former India player and one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket, Sachin Tendulkar also posted an emotional message on Twitter, saying the wounds may have healed, but the scars remain.

"The wounds may have healed, but the scars remain. Of the lives lost and the sacrifices made. These shall always be a reminder of the strength of the human spirit to overcome any act of adversity. Remembering all our martyrs on this day. #MumbaiTerrorAttack,” said Tendulkar.

Besides Sachin, another former India player, Gautam Gambhir, also remembered the day as he tweeted, “12 years ago our sovereignty was violated & around 200 innocent souls killed. Never forget 26/11.”

The attacks, which took place on November 26, 2008, lasted for four days, leading to the death of 166 people and injuring over 300.

On the cricket front, Virat Kohli-led Indian side is currently gearing up to face Australia in the three-match ODI series, starting from November 27.

Kiran More urges Team India management to preserve Bumrah, Shami for Test series

Vedant Yadav Updated: 26 November, 2020, 4:42 PM IST

India's two-month-long tour of Australia is set to commence on Friday with both teams locking horns in the first One-Day International at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). During the tour, fans will be allowed to fill the stadium for the first time, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but to a certain extent.

However, ahead of the first ODI, former Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Kiran More has urged the team management to rest marquee pacers Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Shami, alternately, during the white-ball leg of the tour, to manage their workload. Both players will feature across all three formats, which according to More can get a bit hectic.

"The only thing I am worried about is (Jasprit) Bumrah. He is going to play one-dayers, T20s, and Test matches. I think I will look at resting Bumrah, and also (Mohammed) Shami. Preserve more for Test series," More told TOI in an exclusive interview.

"We need to give an opportunity to the young pacers (Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar) so that they can get some experience before the next World Cup."

More also added he won't completely mind the idea of playing three spinners in the ODIs.

"In ODIs, it depends on what sort of batting line-up Australia plays. I won't mind going even with three spinners at some of the grounds...because we have Jadeja who can bat also and bowl those ten overs," he added.

On being asked about which Indian team jersey he would prefer, the 1992 World Cup or the revamped version which will be done by the team, also loaded with sponsors, during the ODI and T20I fixtures, More replied: "We need sponsors. Without that, any sport won't go forward," he replied.

Big Bash Changes: Only Cosmetic?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 26 November, 2020, 4:12 PM IST

Even as the India tour of Australia is set to get underway, the Australian spectators and even their own cricketers cannot shy away from continuing to address the tweaks that have been made to their domestic Twenty20 tournament.

The Big Bash League 2020 is set to undergo three changes according to Cricket Australia and not everyone back home in Australia is taking to the changes like to fish to water. It could be argued that the BBL, aiming to Australia’s successful version of the Indian Premier League, has gone the desperate way in a bid to turn around its viewership numbers.

And fans and cricketers think the rules only complicate and thereby, dilute the game.

The draw ability of the BBL still stems, not unlike Twenty20 tournaments around the world, on its ability to attract foreign cricketers who are household names. It has become a vehicle like others, for older cricketers, some retired, to join in the venture. However, the BBL has not quite had the success that the IPL has had, their numbers even dipping in the course of the past two seasons.

However, it seems the BBL’s attempt to recapture audiences is falling flat with their decision to bring in changes such as adding points to the team chasing for being over the run measure of the team batting first at the ten over the mark, allowing the 12th man (X factor) to substitute any player beyond the 10th over and making the number of powerplay over staggered as part of its power surge move has not won over fans, yet anyway.

It will not be until the game takes to the field until the rules are put to the popularity test based on whether these changes will have a sticky quality to them. However, there has been a lot of pushback already even from some of their own cricketers about how the BBL is missing the whole point about regaining lost spectators, particularly as the world recovers from a pandemic and cricket needs every impetus.

One of the reasons that has made the IPL as successful as it has been having not only to do with the fact that the rules have remained fairly unchanged since its inception but also, because of its ability to draw in a fair mix of international spectators as well with foreign cricketers thrown in with established Indian cricketers as well as young Indian rookies looking to make a name for themselves.

While the BBL had welcomed the initiative to add a third overseas player to the team and therefore, make the BBL more like the IPL, in terms of capturing international audiences, the consensus before the tournament itself seems to be that this is an unnecessary, inconvenient tweaking of the rules that might send the BBL further away from fans who might want to simply watch a quality match than being overburdened by the rules.

Has the BBL done the right thing, particularly as some Australian cricketers are pulling away citing bio bubble issues? Only time will tell.