India will look to play the younger members of their squad throughout the Australia tour, their captain, Virat Kohli, said on the eve of the first ODI. India will be playing three ODIs, three T20Is and four Tests on a tour that stretches till January 19. Also fitted into that schedule are two three-day warm-up games, the first of which overlaps with the T20Is. Kohli said the management had “discussed those things”.
“We are looking at giving opportunities to younger players. There are a lot of young guys in the squad who are eager and really waiting to get onto the park and play in a place like Australia,” Kohli said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to realise something new about their own games and how they can take their games to the next level and grow that confidence level and keep helping the team going forward.
“So from that point of view, yes, it is a very important series for them as individuals to grow and for us as the management group and the captain to give them that opportunity to go out there and play to the best of their abilities and play freely and enjoy their cricket. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing these guys on the field and how they shape up because they’re a bunch of very talented guys.”
India’s squads across formats consist of players who are either on their first tour with the side – T Natarajan, for instance, and Mohammed Siraj on his first Test tour – or are close to breaking into the first team – Shubman Gill and Navdeep Saini are two of them. As such, it is a sizable contingent that Kohli suggested will be used liberally through India’s time in Australia.
Another factor governing that decision is workload management, especially for their two premier bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami – who both had full IPL seasons, and will likely take on more responsibility in the absence of Ishant Sharma.
“It’s a no-brainer [managing Bumrah and Shami’s workloads],” Kohli said. “They’ve gone through a full IPL season as well. Both of them have bowled beautifully, bowling in great rhythm. It’ll be very important to monitor the workload and hence the point about some of the younger guys getting a chance comes into play as well.
“We want to see how people react in different situations because you’re up against a different situation every time you come for an India tour. You have to manage workloads, you have to look forward to the youngsters performing on the field. So there’s a fine balance you need to maintain, something we’ve been able to do well in the last few years and that’s why our bowlers have been fit and available for the important matches – most of the time – for us.”
The Indian team came out of their mandatory 14-day quarantine on Thursday, and are understood to have been training since November 14. This pandemic-enforced reality had helped with the team’s preparation, Kohli said, adding that spending time getting accustomed to a country on tour was an under-rated factor. He did, however, like his deputy KL Rahul, stress that the team is focussed on building momentum in the ODIs that they can carry into the Test series.
“I don’t think that there’s any extra desperation or need to think on those lines for us as a team,” he said. “Because we’ve to understand that the last time we were successful here, it was because of a reason. We were focusing on our process and we were really really strong in our minds to be able to win difficult situations and be at our best in those difficult situations. And that doesn’t change.
“Australia is going to try and come at us really hard and we expect that, and we’re ready for that. We’re ready for some tough cricket on the field and something that we’re looking forward to as a side. But I don’t think we’re attaching any incentives to motivate ourselves just because it’s an opportunity to set the tone before the test series. Every series is different. The importance of starting well is purely because you come to foreign conditions and you want to get confident as a team really quickly so that you can carry it forward to other formats. And that’s something we’re looking forward to.”
Australia in West Indies 2021
The Australia captain said that performances on the upcoming tours will count for a lot in final selection
“I’m seeing them pretty good,” he said in Brisbane ahead of the squad’s chartered flight to the Caribbean on Monday. “I’ve only been hitting indoors on hard wickets, so [I] think the big test will come in night matches, that’s when I noticed the biggest difference in my eyesight.
“It was just bloody blurry which isn’t ideal as a batsman. One day it just sort of changed and got a little bit worse. It wasn’t very sharp and there was bit of a halo around lights and a bit of a trail on the ball, so just a bit unusual. After New Zealand we thought that was the best time to get it done. Was about a three-week process and it was really smooth. It’s all clear now, so seems really good.”
As in New Zealand, Finch will have a squad stripped of some key players due to a combination of resting, opt-outs and Steven Smith’s elbow injury. It was a long-term plan for David Warner and Pat Cummins to miss the tour, but Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson made themselves unavailable.
That has led to recalls for Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Dan Christian along with a maiden call-up for pace bowler Wes Agar.
Finch reiterated the view of national selector Trevor Hohns that significant weight will be put behind performances over these two tours when it comes to the final selection of the T20 World Cup squad which means there may not be a certain path back for all the absentees.
“Playing cricket for Australia and doing well is the ultimate, in my opinion,” he said. “So for guys to be on this tour to get the first opportunity to put their hand up and take that spot is what it’s about. It’s tough to ignore really good international performances.
“It could change a lot. That was based on the World Cup being in Australia and I thought our side in the lead-up to the original World Cup meant to be held here was really settled. You have to look to keep restructuring your side to gather more information. The more the wickets change and the more they go away from our traditional Australian wickets think the more we have to keep learning.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
Australians at the PSL: Usman Khawaja, Tim David and James Faulkner leave a mark
Recent Match Report – Gloucs vs Glamorgan South Group 2021
NZ wicketkeeper-bat required just 41 balls to take game away from visitors
Gloucestershire 216 for 2 (Phillips 94*, Howell 53*) beat Glamorgan 182 for 8 (Lloyd 44, Higgins 2-27) by 34 runs
Phillips’ fifth-highest score of his career, and first half-century in the Vitality Blast, powered Gloucestershire to 216 for 2 – their own fifth-highest T20 total. He struck nine fours and six sixes to overwhelm Glamorgan, who gave game chase for a while but could only reply with 182 for 8.
Phillips arrived after Miles Hammond and Chris Dent had given the innings a lively start after losing the toss, making 60 without loss. He cut Marnus Labuschagne through extra cover before lifting Dan Douthwaite over the sight screen. He blasted Prem Sisodiya twice straight back past his for four and swept him fine for another boundary in going to fifty in 26 balls.
He took 14 from the 17th over, clubbing Timm van der Gugten over long-off, before uppercutting Douthwaite for a third six. An extraordinary reverse-scoop flew over third man for six as 23 came from the 18th. In the final over, he launched van der Gugten over the longest boundary at midwicket, crashed him wide of deep cover for four and swung the final ball of the innings over deep-square.
Howell took his chance up at three to make an unbeaten 53 in 33 balls. He struck Callum Taylor for four through extra cover and wide of midwicket before a slug down the ground cleared long-off for six. He drove Weighell for four to raise a fifth T20 half-century.
Glamorgan needed their third-highest T20 total to win and stayed in the game for the first half of the chase. David Lloyd gave them a rattling start with 44 in 22 balls, striking four sixes, three of them short-arm jabs over midwicket and Glamorgan reached 101 for 4 at halfway. But Tom Smith then bowled an over for 9 followed by a wicket maiden to leave 15-an-over for the final five.
Labuschagne was, as ever, a crucial wicket and David Payne yorked him walking across his stumps. His 33 in 21 balls was well light of what Glamorgan needed.
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