With the IPL 2019 coming up in only 10 days from now, you may forgive us for not paying too much attention to the ongoing India-Australia ODI series. But this is where it gets really interesting – just one match to go, the last international match before the IPL 2019 – and the series is tied 2-2.
If the Australians win this one, that will be a major boost to them as this is a very young and inexperienced Aussie side without any of their star players. No David Warner, no Steven Smith, and no Mitchell Starc. Yet, this Aussie side has done better in India than any in recent memory.
And all of that is mainly because of young and talented players nobody had heard of before. We have been watching cricket for the better part of the last three decades, and even we were shocked by what happened in the last game in Mohali.
India looked comfortably placed with their score of 357 for 9. And then this young man nobody had heard of, Ashton Turner, playing only his second game, comes along and smashes the ball all over the park, with a rare combination of power, composure, grit and technique.
The young man blazed away to a glorious 83 off just 41 balls and led his team to a magnificent victory over the star studded Indian line-up. What he did will never be forgotten, but it is important that his performance on that night in Mohali should not turn out to be a flash in the pan.
We have seen so many young cricketers start with a bang only to fade away just as quickly. The example of Karun Nair, who hit a triple century in a Test match against England and did precious little after that, is right before us…as is that of Jayant Yadav, another young player forgotten after his 100 in a test match.
Never mind that, this Aussie side is not just about Ashton Turner, it is also about Peter Handscomb and Usman Khawaja, who have been solid throughout the series. They have more than made up for the poor performance of senior players such as Captain Aaron Finch and Shaun Marsh.
As for India, it does look like they are not taking this series seriously enough. M.S. Dhoni has been rested, and there has been too much chopping and changing going on. One thing that is clear is that Ambati Rayudu is not good enough to play at no. 4 for India. Virat Kohli has to find a more long-term solution for that, perhaps play at no. 4 himself.
What’s going to happen tonight? We don’t know, nobody knows. Anyone could win. But Australia have the hunger and the momentum going in their favor, which is why we expect them to win this one.
India: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 KL Rahul/Ambati Rayudu, 5 Rishabh Pant (wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Vijay Shankar, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Yuzvendra Chahal, 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Australia: 1 Usman Khawaja, 2 Aaron Finch (capt), 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 Peter Handscomb, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Ashton Turner, 7 Alex Carey (wk), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Nathan Lyon, 10 Jhye Richardson, 11 Adam Zampa
Watch India play Australia in the 5th ODI live from Delhi at 1:00 PM today!