Indian Cricket Team will begin its campaign against Australia in the four Test match series Down Under beginning Thursday. The rivalry between the two cricketing nations has produced some of the greatest matches and countless moments for the cricket fan to cherish.
While Indian side will look to shred the tag of “poor travelers”, the Aussies will look to over power the visiting team on the home turf and keep their unbeatable record against India intact.
This year, India have a good record in playing against the Test cricket bigwigs on the foreign soil. The team Indian managed to give a tough fight to South Africa and managed to end the series 2-1. But its hopes to win the series tumbled when it faced England and lose the series 4-1, the fight though was closer than the scoreline.
With the Test tour beginning in a day, a formidable Team India would like to focus on the weaknesses of their opponents to win India’s first-ever Test series Down Under. The Indian side has lot of match-winners who can help them survive the wrath of Australian turf.
India’s past Test record in Australia is quite poor with the team having managed to win just five Tests out of 44 Test matches it played on Australian soil so far. India hasn’t managed to win a single Test Series in Australia in the past five decades.
While the absence of two of its most dependable batsmen may hurt Australia’s hopes, the Aussies would not like to showcase their apparent vulnerabilities to the opponents, especially when they are playing on the home ground. This is Australia’s first home test since Steve Smith and David Warner were banned over the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Here are the key players Indian side like to pin their hopes on:
During the press conference on Wednesday, the Australian media’s general query about Indian team had been more or less restricted on how to stop this talented player, a constant question put to anyone and everyone.
The world’s best batsmen at the moment, Virat Kohli, has all eyes on him to lead the Team India to victory. His fans expect him to be the leading run scorer and cement India’s chances at winning the series.
Kohli had emerged as the top run-scorer for India in the last two overseas tours as he scored 286 runs in South Africa and 595 runs in England. If his Test record is amazing this year, his score during the last tour of India to Australia exceeds the total he scored in a single Test series. He hit 692 runs last time India played in Australia.
KL Rahul had a talented stroke-filled show when he scored a century against the Aussies on their home turf in the second Test match of his career. Interestingly, his ton came against a good Australian bowling unit. He went on to cement his claims for a berth in the Test squad, his performances, of late, have seen a decline with an injured Prithvi Shaw asserting his claims on his position.
Rahul is in the ranks of the talented players who can play a good game in all three formats. And, if he proves to be good with bat, India will set off to a good start. During the last tour of India, he scored two fifties and provided India an upper hand almost every time he came out to bat. If he could shred the pressure in the coming days, his bat will speak, and his fans will cheer for him.
Rahane is one of those Indian players who have built on a reputation of being a good overseas player. He has evolved as a wonderful player in the last four years and it will only to good to Team India if he would emulate his performance of 2014.
Although he played some promising innings in England and scored a couple of half centuries, the numbers against his name in the score-sheet have disappointed for some time. The last time he scored a Test hundred was against Sri Lanka (132 runs off 222 balls) in their backyard in August 2017, almost a year after he hit a ton against New Zealand when the Kiwis toured India in 2016.
Still, batting at number 5 position, Rahane may swing the match in India’s favour when he comes out to bat.
Being the most experienced player of the Indian squad, Ishant Sharma will play for the fourth time in Australia. His bowling to Ricky Ponting in Perth in 2008 is one of the highlights of his career where he managed to trouble Ricky Ponting with his skills and final got him out.
He is in good form. This year he has taken 30 wickets in eight Test matches he played. If he can build on the momentum in India’s pace attack, he can restrict the Aussies at a decent level.