Australia will play hosts to India for six white-ball encounters starting November 27 followed by the Border-Gavaskar Test series starting December 17. In the initial team which was announced on October 26, Rohit Sharma missed out on making the team in all three formats due to a hamstring injury he was nursing at that time. It seems like no Australia vs India series can unfold without a bit of controversy. What should have been a regular affair of selecting players based on past performances and current form took a nightmare turn for the Indian selectors.
Just a week after the initial list was announced, Rohit Sharma showed up in Mumbai colours to lead the team against Hyderabad in an Indian T20 League match. That move was baffling, to say the least, and only in India are injuries kept secret and not talked about without hesitation. Rohit went on to successfully lead Mumbai to their record fifth Indian T20 League title but still, he missed out on making the trip to Australia for the white-ball edition of the series. He was recently seen in the National Cricket Academy at Bengaluru sweating it out to prove his fitness and make a return when the Border-Gavaskar Test series begins in December.
Talking about the Test series, in a recent move the Board of Control of India (BCCI) announced that the Indian captain, Virat Kohli will be heading back home post the first Test in Australia to attend the birth of his first child. There’s no doubt that Kohli’s absence in the Test squad leaves a massive hole to fill both on the captaincy and the batting front. Ajinkya Rahane will step up in the absence of Virat and will hope to lead team India to yet another Test series win on Australian soil.
Both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli are one of the first names on the team sheet irrespective of the format the team is playing. They are the two pillars of Indian batting in the current era and it’s almost impossible to replace such players. Even though both are going to feature in a few matches, still the advantage lies with Australia as they can now focus on the other batsmen and not just these two greats of Indian cricket.
Rohit Sharma had a record-breaking ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 where he struck five centuries. He is the only man to score three double-centuries in the One Day format and he is the most successful captain in the history of the Indian T20 League. For his replacement, India have two openers in red hot form. KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan finished as the top run-getters of the recently concluded T20 league in the UAE and India will be hoping that the duo comes good on flat Australian tracks.
While on the other hand, Virat Kohli will be hoping that he gives India a head start in the first Test at Adelaide which is supposed to be a day and night one. Ajinkya Rahane has proved that he is more than capable of leading the team in Kohli’s absence as he led India to a series win at Dharamshala against Australia in 2017. The star man of the last Border-Gavaskar trophy, Cheteshwar Pujara who simply bored the hosts to defeat in 2018-19 will look to be amongst the runs yet again. Both Pujara and Rahane bring perpetual calmness at all times and the brand of cricket the team will play under them would be an intriguing thing to witness.
It’s almost impossible for any team in the world to find replacements for batting greats like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma but this Indian team seems to have the resources necessary to fill the void somehow.
Here are the different squads the selectors have chosen ahead of what promises to be an action-packed three months.
Team India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan
Team India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper)
Team India Test squad: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj
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