Tour of Australia 2020-21: Indian Squads Look To Be A Judicious Mix!

Photo: deccanchronicle.com

The all-India cricket selection committee of the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has yesterday finalized the Indian squads for the India Tour of Australia 2020-21 to be played from end of next month under new normal rules due to the pandemic. Three squads for the T20Is, ODIs and Tests have been announced with some significant changes of players/specialists. Rishabh Pant, who is reportedly unfit due to weight issues, has been left out of the shorter formats and included in the Test squad as the second wicket-keeper. This is despite he being the hype of the millennium when he was not selected for the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019, initially, and the Board eventually forced to select him due to Shikhar Dhawan’s injury, but largely due to the pressures created by the Pant fans on social media, the mainstream media hooting for him even with editorials and a range of cricket experts and ex-players crying for his inclusion. However, it proved to be a damp squib, and Pant is yet to prove his mettle in the ODIs and the T20Is. The IPL 2020 in UAE has also failed so far to bring out the ‘best’ in him.

 

The BCCI has also been judicious enough by doing away with the selection of injured batsman Rohit Sharma and fast bowler Ishant Sharma instead of taking the risks. Accordingly, KL Rahul has been named vice-captain for the T20Is and the ODIs thanks perhaps to his current rollicking form in the IPL 2020. His inclusion in the Test squad has been contested though by some ex-cricketers since there are already two wicket-keepers included (Wriddhiman Saha and Pant) and Ajinkya Rahane being made the vice-captain. However, with 18 players in the squad there should be a lot of scope for selecting the playing eleven, and it also must be borne in mind that Rahul first came into international fame in the Test format. His co-opener in IPL 2020 for Kings Eleven Punjab, Mayank Agarwal has also made it to all the three formats.

 

Inclusion of the IPL star of recent years, Sanju Samson, in the T20I squad is significant too; because apart from being an attacking batsman Samson is also a wicket-keeper and he would provide relief to KL Rahul whenever required. Promising pacer Navdeep Saini has also made it to all the squads while spinner Yuzvendra Chahal is retained for the shorter formats and spinner Kuldeep Yadav selected for the Test squad only with R Ashwin coming in. Other offbeat selections from IPL 2020 being that of spinner Varun Chakravarthy for the T20I squad and pacer Mohammed Siraj for the Test squad.

 

The Squads:

T20I: 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, Varun Chakravarthy.

ODI: 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.

Test: Virat Kohli (Captain), 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.

 

Four additional bowlers, all IPL 2020 finds: Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kartik Tyagi, Ishan Porel and T. Natarajan will travel with the Indian contingent as per the BCCI release. All team management members, coach and players not playing in IPL would join in Dubai, and all the squads are to fly to Australia from Dubai after November 10 IPL final.

 

There is, however, still a lot of uncertainty about the final India-Australia match schedule with different sports sites giving different dates for the matches. The final schedule is to be announced only after all the quarantine and other norm requirements are fixed. In all, three T20Is, three ODIs and four Test matches will be played between November-January 2020-21. While Sydney is believed to host the first few matches covering all formats Adelaide would be the venue for the pink-ball day-night Test match. With the pandemic hopefully coming under perfect control by the month of December in Australia cricket spectators could be allowed for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG Melbourne, that is to say, from 26th December. In spite of the continuing uncertainty of the final schedule this Series is likely to be very absorbing, considering the fact that the Virat Kohli team had won in the Test series last time against the hosts in Australia. 

Meanwhile the schedule of the tour has been finalized with the first One-Day International match starting on 27th November in Sydney. The fourth and last Test match taking place in Brisbane from the 15th January, 2021. The Final Schedule:


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