Starting today, India and Australia are kicking off their final ODI series before the 2023 World Cup in Mohali. The first game will be held at the PCA IS Bindra Stadium, followed by the next two matches at Indore’s Holkar Stadium and Rajkot’s Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
Earlier this year, Australia visited India for a three-match ODI series. India secured a victory in the first ODI, but Australia bounced back to win the series 2-1. India is now eager to seek redemption for that series defeat in the upcoming matches.
Besides seeking revenge, India also has the goal of addressing specific concerns before the 2023 World Cup. Notably, India and Australia share some common issues.
Here are three challenges that both teams aim to resolve.
#1 Middle-order batting
India’s top three batters, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Virat Kohli, are in excellent form and expected to be leading run-scorers at the 2023 World Cup. Nevertheless, the middle-order remains unsettled.
The team management is uncertain about the number four batting position, with KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, and Ishan Kishan being potential contenders. Captain Rohit Sharma has expressed a desire for flexibility in the middle order, but it would benefit both the team and the players to have clear, defined batting positions.
Iyer made a brief return from injury in the Asia Cup 2023, scoring 14 runs before getting injured again. It’s expected that he will participate in all three ODIs against Australia. On the other hand, Suryakumar Yadav, who has garnered strong support from the team management, will be eager to justify their trust in him.
Conversely, Australia recently faced a 2-3 series loss to South Africa. While their top-order batters performed well during the series, the middle-order struggled to maintain the momentum. Australia will be optimistic about their middle-order batters finding their form before the 2023 World Cup.
#2 Form of Substitute Players
Marnus Labuschagne, initially left out of Australia’s 2023 World Cup team, showcased his skills during the series against South Africa. He got a chance as a concussion substitute and has earned a spot for the upcoming series against India.
Likewise, India has brought back Ravichandran Ashwin after nearly two years due to his potential as a replacement for spin-bowling all-rounder Axar Patel. Both India and Australia are looking for their reserve players to boost their confidence in the upcoming series.
#3 Managing the Workload of Fast Bowlers
India and Australia are scheduled to participate in a minimum of nine group-stage matches during the World Cup. In the event they progress to the semifinals and finals, both teams will play a total of 11 matches each.
While they heavily depend on their fast bowlers, it is crucial to effectively manage the rotation of pacers to maintain their freshness and safeguard the team’s overall performance. The three ODIs will provide India and Australia with the opportunity to experiment with various lineups. Furthermore, it will assist the bowlers in acclimating to the conditions prevalent in India.