India will take on Australia in two-match T20I series, which will commence from February 24. It will be followed by five-match ODI series. It is going to be the last series for the Men in Blue before the 2019 Cricket World Cup that will start from May 30 in England and Wales. 

Australia are reigning World-Cup champions. They aren’t the same force they once were, but still, you can never count them out. Even in ODI series that India won in Australia, the games were quite close. It will be last chance for India to get its combination and balance right.

Here are Five Experiments that India should try in Australia series:

Playing Virat Kohli at no.4

There has been a lot of talks in regards to Virat Kohli’s batting position in the last few days. Indian head coach, Ravi Shastri was of the view that the Indian skipper should bat at the no.4 position if the situation demands. Even India’s chief selector, MSK Prasad backed Shastri’s views. The logic behind sending Virat at 4 is that India’s batting firepowers heavily depend on the top three- Rohit, Dhawan, and Kohli. So, in testing conditions, let’s say on a seaming track, the Indian batting might get exposed in case the top three departs early. Sending Kohli at 4 would strengthen the middle-order. But who should bat at no.3 if Kohli bats at 4? India can experiment in this series. It can be a disaster if India tinker with their best batsman in the World Cup directly. 

Giving proper run to Rishabh Pant as a finisher

Rishabh Pant’s power-hitting can help India finish off the innings with a flourish. Ever since the decline in MS Dhoni’s hitting abilities, the Men in Blue have struggled to maximize run-making in the last 10 overs. If someone from the top three is there till the end, India accelerates through the fag-end. But if there are two new batsmen at the crease, the run-rate takes a hit. But, someone like Pant can smash the ball right from the word go and can play those important cameos at the end, which often turn out to be the difference between the two sides. Pant did show us the teaser in New Zealand T20Is, and he can exhibit the whole movie if given proper chances. 

Giving KL Rahul the chance to open in ODIs

India went ahead with Shubman Gill as reserve-opener in New Zealand. Though they played him in the middle-order. But, now he has been overlooked from the ODI and T20I squad against Australia, with KL Rahul returning back to the team. India would need to give chances to KL Rahul, and fix up the slot of reserve opener going into the World Cup. Rahul has largely underperformed in the recent past and is also coming out of a controversy, so India need to ensure whether he is good enough or not for the ICC megaevent, which would require all the players to be in good form. 

Playing Mayank Markande in T20Is

Punjab wrist-spinner, Mayank Markande got his maiden call-up in the Indian squad for Australia. India have rested Kuldeep Yadav from the T20Is. And they must play Mayank Markande in the series against Australia so that India have a back-up spinner ready in case of injury to either Kuldeep Yadav or Yuzvendra Chahal. Mayank is also a wrist-spinner so he can be a like for like replacement to them. He is an attacking option and can do well for India if his IPL and domestic performance is anything to go by.  

Game time to Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul

Umesh Yadav has been included only in the T20I team while Siddarth Kaul will be part of the T20I series as well as first two ODIs against Australia. India have already locked three seamers for the World Cup in form of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. But the Kohli-led side are still auditioning for the spot of the fourth seamer. Both Umesh Yadav and Siddarth Kaul are in the mix. But, they need to be given game time as so that the 2011 World-Cup champions can lock the fourth seamer for the ICC megaevent. 

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