Ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, cricket heavyweights India and Australia gear up for a three-match ODI series starting September 22. One can see this series as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup to be held in India. Rohit Sharma’s men go into this series in an upbeat mood, having won the Asia Cup. Meanwhile, the Aussies were stunned by South Africa in the 5-match ODI series despite taking a 2-0 lead. India are without Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Hardik Pandya for the first two games, handing them rest. However, they return for the third encounter. For Australia, their regular senior players return after missing the SA series.
India and Australia have played some cracking series in the 50-over format over the years. Ahead of another exciting contest, we decode the 7 major player battles on offer.
#1 Josh Hazlewood vs Shubman Gill
Australian pace sensation Josh Hazlewood will be eager to make things count against an in-form Shubman Gill. With his nagging line and lengths, the right-arm pacer can cause problems for Gill, who likes to start aggressively. As per ESPNcricinfo, Hazlewood has bowled just 11 balls to Gill in one ODI inning, conceding 12 runs. Versus right-handed batters, Hazlewood averages 29.16 in ODIs across 71 innings. He has claimed 72 scalps. Meanwhile, Gill averages a whopping 60.43 versus right-arm pacers in ODIs, having clocked 967 runs. He has been dismissed on 16 occasions.
#2 Pat Cummins vs Ishan Kishan
With Rohit rested it provides an opportunity for Ishan Kishan to gain more confidence ahead of the World Cup. Kishan has been in strong form in recent times, and he can pack a punch. Kishan will be up against a world-class bowler like Pat Cummins, who can extract bounce and pace like a flash. Across 69 ODI innings, Cummins averages a solid 22.11 versus left-handed batters. He has claimed 43 scalps. Meanwhile, in 17 ODIs versus India, he has 24 scalps overall at 34.45. Kishan, who is yet to face Cummins, has clocked 356 runs against right-arm pacers, averaging 50.85. He has been dismissed 7 times.
#3 Adam Zampa vs Suryakumar Yadav
Australian spinner Adam Zampa has a point to prove after conceding 103 runs recently from 10 overs against South Africa. Zampa, who is Australia’s leading spinner, will be keen to make use of the sub-continent surfaces on offer. Zampa knows he will have a chance to rattle Suryakumar Yadav, who has been poor in the ODI format. Ahead of the World Cup, this is a vital series for Suryakumar, who would want to prove his selection. Suryakumar has done a decent job versus leg-spinners, scoring 51 runs from 36 balls, being dismissed once. Zampa has 103 wickets against right-handed batters at 27.16.
4# Mohammed Siraj vs David Warner
Mohammed Siraj rose to number one in the ICC ODI Rankings for Bowlers. He was exceptional in the Asia Cup and claimed a six-wicket haul in the final. Siraj, who surpassed 50 ODI wickets, will want to test David Warner’s mettle. Siraj averages 21.58 against left-handed batters across 28 innings, having claimed 17 scalps. Siraj has also been excellent in the power play overs. In 28 innings, he averages 16.15, having claimed 32 scalps. His economy rate is 4.20. Warner has a solid record against the Men in Blue in ODIs, having scored 1013 runs at 50.65.
5# Jasprit Bumrah vs Mitchell Marsh
With Travis Head ruled out for Australia with injury, Mitchell Marsh is likely to open alongside Warner. Marsh can hand Australia a fast start and take to the Indian bowlers. He is a well-rounded, skilled asset for the Aussies. Marsh has faced Bumrah in one match, scoring 13 runs from 12 balls without being dismissed. Bumrah averages 21.98 against right-handed batters, taking 80 scalps to date. Meanwhile, Marsh averages 36.25 versus right-arm pacers across 61 innings. He has scored 1160 runs, besides being dismissed 32 times.
6# Kuldeep Yadav vs Steve Smith
Kuldeep Yadav recently got to 150 ODI scalps and had an excellent Asia Cup campaign, spinning a web. Kuldeep, with his left-arm wrist-spin, can be impactful against someone like Steve Smith, who is an excellent player of spin. Across 86 innings, Kuldeep has clocked 88 wickets at 27.14 versus right-handed batters in ODIs. Kuldeep also owns a decent record against the Aussies, having taken 27 scalps from 19 matches. He averages 38.59. Across 7 innings against Smith, Kuldeep has conceded 110 runs from 128 balls. He has dismissed Smith twice.
7# Ravindra Jadeja vs Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne fought his way back into Australia’s scheme of things and can provide a stiff challenge in that middle order. Labuschagne has grown in confidence, and his battle against Ravindra Jadeja will be immense. Labuschagne averages 28.00 against Jadeja in ODIs, having scored 56 runs across five innings. Jadeja has bowled 83 deliveries to Labuschagne, dismissing him on two counts. Meanwhile, across 24 innings, Labuschagne has an average worth 38.33 versus spinners. He has 575 runs, being dismissed on 15 counts. Jadeja will challenge Labuschagne’s application with his decisive lengths.