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Virat Kohli, Tim David And More – 5 Things To Watch Out For In The India Australia T20 Series

Virat Kohli of India and Tim David of Australia during net session
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The final leg of India’s preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup begins with a three-match T20I series at home against Australia. Both teams have already announced their squads for the upcoming World Cup in October, and these three games in Mohali, Nagpur, and Hyderabad will give the selected players enough game time in different situations to prepare them for the tests that lie ahead.

It’s always an exciting contest when India take on Australia in any format, and there are plenty of fascinating storylines and players to keep an eye on in this series.

Here are five things to watch out for in the three T20Is between India and Australia.

1. Virat Kohli’s form


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After an extended lean period, Virat Kohli returned to his best at the recently concluded Asia Cup. The 33-year-old scored 276 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 147, including his 71st international century against Afghanistan. Much to the delight of Indian fans, Kohli seemed to have got his mojo back in the UAE. The running between the wickets and shots against pace were predictably excellent, but Kohli also looked more aggressive and assured against the spinners, as seen in that dazzling ton.

Kohli’s renewed confidence was the biggest positive for the Men in Blue in their failed Asia Cup defence, and Rahul Dravid and co will be hoping the former captain follows up that stellar showing in the UAE with another promising performance against the World Champions. Kohli has a poor record against Adam Zampa in T20Is and will be tested by a formidable pace attack that includes Hazlewood and Cummins.

2. Tim David’s debut


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Tim David will make his long-awaited T20I debut for Australia in the series against India, and the hard-hitting middle-order batter could be the team’s x-factor at the upcoming World Cup. David has frequented the global T20 franchise circuit over the past 2-3 years, earning himself the reputation of being one of the most devastating ball-strikers in world cricket. The Western Australian has a rare skill set with his power-hitting ability against all types of bowling and his selection elevates the quality of the Australian batting line-up, giving them extra firepower at the death.

3. Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel’s return from injury


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Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel missed the Asia Cup due to injury troubles, but both pacers have returned to full fitness ahead of the home series against Australia. The Indian cricket team and Rohit Sharma will want two of their premier pacers fit and firing ahead of the T20 World Cup, and the three matches against Australia will be a great warm-up for both bowlers looking to gain some rhythm in the middle.

Barring two final overs from Arshdeep Singh, the Indian cricket team and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, especially, struggled in the slog overs at the Asia Cup with the ball. Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel will resolve most of those issues as the two first-choice death bowlers in the side. But both bowlers will need to get up to speed in these three matches against the reigning World Champions after playing few games for the country in the last two months.

4. India’s Pant-Karthik conundrum


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The biggest selection headache for the Indian cricket team at the T20 World Cup will be choosing between Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant for the middle-order spot in the XI. The Indian cricket team have been happy to chop and change their team and batting order based on the opposition over the past few months. However, given that the World Cup is just weeks away, Rohit Sharma’s side is likely to field their best team against Australia, and it will be noteworthy to see which of Pant or Karthik gets the nod as the first-choice wicketkeeper.

Pant provides more utility if he can bat through the middle overs and take on the spinners, a quality that will be especially useful against Australia since both Ashton Agar and Adam Zampa turn the ball into the left-hander. Karthik, meanwhile, is the best finisher in the Indian squad and is a better fit at number six due to his ability to hit the pacers against all types of lengths.

5. Steve Smith’s opportunity


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Steven Smith has been a fixture in Australia’s T20I side over the past few years, but the former skipper’s place in the XI may be in jeopardy ahead of the World Cup following the arrival of Tim David. Unlike his exploits in the longest format, Smith has never set the world alight in T20I cricket. The New South Wales star averages 26 at a strike rate of 125 in nearly 50 innings and doesn’t have the six-hitting power or range to be an elite T20 batter.

Smith found his place in the Australian XI based on his ability to anchor an innings, but with Warner and Finch at the top of the order, Smith’s presence may be surplus to requirements in the team. Australia become a more well-rounded batting line-up with a middle order of Marsh, Maxwell, Stoinis, David, and Wade, giving them more power-hitters and all-rounders suited to the demands of the evolving T20 game.

However, with no David Warner or Marcus Stoinis in the squad against India, Steve Smith will play all three games versus the Men in Blue, allowing him to showcase his T20 talents and make his case to be in Australia’s World Cup XI.