Prior to the first ODI of the three-match ODI series between the hosts Australia and the visitors India, the hosts’ ODI captain Aaron Finch claimed that the top three of Indian batting line-up is very important that is consisted by Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Talking about their ODI planning against the no.2 ODI ranked Indian side, Finch credited the entire Indian side but they are especially looking over the top three Indian batsmen who have the high batting average in last 12 months.
Ahead of the first ODI at Sydney that will begin on Saturday (12 January), Finch said, “Over the last 12 months Virat’s averaged 133, Shikhar 75, and Rohit 50; so there’s a lot of runs and balls faced from their top three. It’s important to get them as early as you can because once they get in, they score fast and they don’t seem to get out too easily.
“Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav, Dhoni these guys that can all play their part as well. The top three are very important but you can’t just look at that otherwise there’s someone else that will catch you off-guard and get the job done as well.”
Jasprit Bumrah, the in-form Indian pacer has been rested for this ODI series. However, Finch believes that the visiting side has enough quality bowlers in the squad, including Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal.
Finch said about the Indian bowling line-up, “Bumrah has played a huge part for their one-day side, or all their sides. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is someone who has had success at all levels as well.
“The two spinners have played a huge role in Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal over the last month as well. There’s no real weak links in their side. They’ve got an extra spin option in the squad with Jadeja, Kedar who can bowl some off-spin.
“They (India) have got left, right-arm, spin, leg-spin, off-spin, so they’ve got plenty of options… They play their own conditions very well but I think the amount of times they’re winning away from home in the shorter formats is a credit to them.”
On Friday, Australia announced their playing XI for the Sydney ODI where the wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey has been included as an opening batsman. Talking about Carey’s position as an opening batsman, his opening partner and ODI captain Finch claimed that it is a process to find out the right balance of the side prior to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup that is just four months away to begin.
Finch said, “It’s just an opportunity to see Alex play in a position he’s done quite a bit in Big Bash and one-day cricket. He’s been shuffled around the order a bit in the last little while… we are trying to search for that process and right balance of the side.
“We’ve got three games here which will be very tough then straight to India for five ODIs then Pakistan so that’s a very tough 13 games, then a few warm-up and practice games against New Zealand.
“These are still best part of 18 games to get that right. While it would have been great to have a settled side for the last 12-18 months it’s still enough time to get it right and make sure come that World Cup that we are ready to go with a really balanced and settled side.”
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Australia will miss their three front line pacers in this home ODI series and they are Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. Meanwhile, the senior Australian pacer Peter Siddle is returning to the ODI cricket after more than eight long years wait.
Talking about Siddle’s ODI return, the confident Finch said, “For Siddle to go away and work on the skills that he’s brought to the table over the last couple of years in Big Bash cricket is outstanding. He probably went with a real red-ball focus for a long time there and probably neglected the one-day skills.
“Then to come back and have an eight-week period last year where he just focused on skills for the white ball and how quickly he improved was unbelievable.”