Australia will start its tour of India with the first T20I scheduled at the Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy tadium in Visakhapatnam on February 24.
During India’s tour of Australia, the Men-in-Blue finished the T20I series 1-1 and clinched the ODI series 2-1. The touring Aussies would be aiming to reverse the results this time around.
After being humiliated by India in the one-day series, the Aussies blanked the Sri Lankans 2-0 in Tests. The series win offered some much-needed relief for the Australian side which had witnessed a lot of turmoil on and off the field in the past one year.
“We are really looking forward for the next 12 months of cricket,” Australia’s Test captain Tim Paine had said at the conclusion of the Sri Lanka series. The rejuvenated side would be expected to put up a tough fight against India. The white-ball series is the first of three Australia will play away from home to find some form and fine tune selections for the ICC Cricket World Cup which begins in late May.
As Australia were mauling Sri Lanka, India embarrassed New Zealand in the ODI series but lost the T20I leg of the tour. India would want to overturn its fortune in the T20Is. The upcoming series is India’s final dress rehearsal before the all important World Cup. India too have a few spots to finalize.
Last time India and Australia played a T20I series in India it ended in a 1-1 draw with one match being washed out.
Ahead of the series, the Indian team was dealt a major blow with all-rounder Hardik Pandya being ruled outof both the T20Is and ODIs. The BCCI confirmed that Pandya will sit out of the series due to lower back stiffness. Ravindra Jadeja has been named as Pandya’s replacement in the squad. The series though will see star players Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah back in action. Also back in India’s 15-member squad will be Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul. Chinaman spinner Kuldeep Yadav has been given much needed rest and filling his boots will be young spinner Mayank Markande.
Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the upcoming series while his namesake Mitchell Marsh has been left out of the squad. Peter Siddle and Billy Stanlake are the other two players missing from the line up. Kane Richardson has been recalled while Shaun Marsh, who is expecting the birth of his second child and also recovering from a hamstring injury, will join the team from the third ODI. D’Arcy Short returns to the ODI squad as cover for Shaun Marsh while Nathan Coulter-Nile has also been included.
Betting odds: (Bet365)
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Where to watch: The India vs Australia series will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network. The 1st T2oI will begin at 7.00 PM on February 24. Online users can catch the action on Hotstar.