The first of two T20 internationals between the Aussies and the Indians gets under way in Sydney on Wednesday. The tour of Australia thus-far has been an abortion for the Indians, having been white-washed 4-0 in the tests without once looking like possible victors. The change in format will be welcome for the Indians and they will be hopeful of taking a young and experimental Aussie team down to the wire. All T20 internationals this year will be played in the spirit of gearing up for the T20 World Cup scheduled for September. Experimentation in line-ups and tactics will be par for the course, as teams look for a finely-tuned unit to take to Sri Lanka.
Indeed, Australia’s T20 unit has taken a butchering, and it will be interesting to see how the new-look team gels against a fairly established Indian line-up. I must say, I am impressed with the way that Australia has no qualms about a complete restructuring, mixing old and new to try and find the right balance in the middle. Due to injury, the introduction of new players in the test team was met by success, and there is nothing to show that the same fortune will not follow the Australians into the shortest format of the game.
|Think he's good at test cricket, you should see him|
wield the willow in the shortest format of the game.
India will be looking to put the atrocities of the test series behind them and focus on putting on a good show for the T20’s, at the same time possibly finding some form among their speciality limited overs players ahead of the Commonwealth Bank ODI Series. India will be one of the teams most comfortable with their T20 set-up, as a wealth of experience comes with having the largest T20 domestic competition in the world. The IPL has served to propel youngsters to world-class status as they frequently face the best players in the world in the IPL. Men like Suresh Raina, Ravi Ashwin, Rohit Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Virat Kohli are all the spawn of the IPL, and are all match-winners at T20 level. Expect the Indians to be a different entity compared to their sluggish and aged test match team.
Australia’s selection panel have decided to gut the van and start with a blank state as they attempt to find a precisely balanced unit ahead of the World Cup. A balance of old and new players as well as a balance in the style of play is what the Australian selectors are after. George Bailey will not only be making his Australian international cricket debut, but has also been given the charge of captaining the T20 side. He has performed consistently at state level and has captained with success, earning his place with the selectors. He replaces Cameron White, who was not only axed as captain, but from the squad. Another success story comes in the form of Brad Hogg, included at the age of 40. He was among the best bowlers of the KFC Big Bash and was the most economical, earning his place in the team. Mike Hussey will be given a rest due to a heavy test workload. James Faulkner may make his debut as a fast-bowling all-rounder, and it will interesting to see how he fares. Additionally, Travis Birt may make his first international appearance in two years. It will be all experimentation for the Australians in Sydney.
Three previous T20’s have been held in Sydney and Australia have claimed victory in all of them. Clearly, the SCG suits the Australian style of play and they will look forward to getting yet another one over India on Wednesday. Unfortunately there is a 90% chance of rain in Sydney on Wednesday and it has been wet leading up to the contest, so the chance of getting a full game here is slim. Everyone down on the knees now and start praying to the cricketing Gods for a full contest.
BEST: Top Australia Batsman, David Warner 11/4
Warner has been playing a lot of cricket recently in the test series, but will revel in his chosen format of the game, T20. The last international he played at Sydney, both he and Watson scored sixties to win the game for the Australians. Expect some fireworks from the world’s most acclaimed slogger.
VERDICT: Australia 11/20
Australia are exuding confidence and their dramatic team change at test level definitely worked in their favour. It seems the ballsy selections from the board are giving hungry youngsters their chance, which they are grasping with both hands. India have lost their way, and even though they have a strong limited overs line-up, they are still strongest in Indian conditions. Tip the over-confident but not over-arrogant Aussies here.
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Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!