With only two weeks to go before the start of the upcoming ODI World Cup, India, and Australia will gear up for the mega event in the first ODI at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali on Friday.
Both teams will be looking to search for a missing piece in their jigsaw and fill the missing gaps before the ODI showpiece. India recently clinched the Asia Cup, their eighth title, by thrashing Sri Lanka in the summit clash. The Men in Blue will look to continue their winning impetus ahead of the all-important World Cup.
However, the Indian selectors have rested skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Kuldeep Yadav for first two ODIs. In the absence of these stars, there will be opportunities for players like Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer. All eyes will be on Iyer’s fitness as he could not play from the Super Fours stage onwards in the Asia Cup due to back spasms.
Furthermore, India will be concerned about Axar Patel’s fitness and thus they have given opportunities to off-spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington at the 11th hour.
On the other hand, Australia recently suffered a 3-2 series loss against South Africa despite winning the first two matches. The three-match ODI series will be a perfect opportunity for the Aussies to get accustomed to the Indian conditions before the World Cup.
Players like Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, and Glenn Maxwell will be back for Australia for India ODIs.
Match Prediction: India will start as favorites against Australia.
Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Spencer Johnson, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
India squad for first two ODIs: KL Rahul (captain), Shubman Gill, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, R Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, J Bumrah, M Siraj, M Shami, Tilak Varma, Prasidh Krishna, R Ashwin, Washington Sundar