India have arrived in Australia for ODI and T20 series to round out the Australian summer of cricket. The first match of the five-match ODI series will kick off at the WACA on Tuesday, with matches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.
For a country which basically controls the entire sport, when it comes to on-field performances India have a terrible record away from home. In recent times, they have lost series against South Africa, England, New Zealand and even Bangladesh, and their record against Australia since 2000 reads four wins and 17 losses.
It’s hardly numbers to inspire confidence but they do bring a squad with some talented cricketers. Virat Kohli is on the verge of stardom, while Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma have superb ODI records. Throw in the perplexing spin of Ravi Ashwin, the experience of Ishant Sharma and the leadership of MS Dhoni and they have the core of a team that can do real damage. This is an interesting series for Dhoni. Seemingly on the verge of retirement, Dhoni has eyes on the T20 World Cup, but this may be the last time Australian fans can see him in action at international level.
A huge loss for the Indians on the eve of the series was Mohammed Shami ruled out of the tour with a severe hamstring injury that will see him sidelined for up to six weeks. Shami has been one of India’s best performed bowlers so it’s a big hole to fill, with Bhuvenshwar Kumar called into the squad as cover.
On the other hand the Australian side looks a strong one. Many of the dynamic young players in the squad have been honing their white ball skills in the Big Bash League with Aaron Finch, Shaun Marsh and George Bailey in good form with the bat, joining David Warner and Steve Smith who have come from the Test squad.
With no Mitchell Starc or Mitchell Johnson, Australia look a little more vulnerable with the ball with rookies Scott Boland and Joel Paris in line for a debut during this series. Kane Richardson has been recalled while Josh Hazelwood continues his marathon summer. All-rounders James Faulkner and Mitch Marsh haven’t been in sparkling form so they will be looking to turn things around in this series, while Glenn Maxwell has been named as the only spinner in the squad for the first three matches. It’s a real opportunity to showcase his ability with the ball.
AUSTRALIA ODI SQUAD (First three matches):
David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, George Bailey, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Kane Richardson, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Joel Paris
INDIA ODI SQUAD:
Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvenshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan, Barinder Sran
With the WACA showing some signs of former glory with good pace and bounce, it should suit the Australian quicks rather than the Indian spinning contingent. India may find it tough in the first match and struggle to catch up for the rest of the series.
Early markets offered a better price but Australia have firmed into $1.45 favourites at CrownBet for the 1st ODI. If you got the early price before Shami’s injury then that would now be value, but at $1.45, it’s probably a little thin to risk.
In the series betting Australia are a firm $1.36 favourite at Ladbrokes which is probably a better bet at those prices. It would be a shock if Australia don't win the series. If you want a bit more value then look to the correct score markets. I like the look of Australia 4-1 at $3.50 at Ladbrokes as a solid play.
Hopefully the series can offer some competitive, exciting cricket. It’s hard to put international cricket into the background of the Big Bash League, but that will soon happen if Australia and India can’t provide some early fireworks in this series.
Follow Mr.Cricket on Twitter at @MrCricketBYB
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