India are on the back of a disappointing Asia Cup campaign in which they were knocked out in the Super 4 stage. Rohit Sharma and Co. need to iron out their kinks ahead of the marquee ICC event, and that might be easier said than done given the time constraints.
Here are three problems India might face during the T20I series against Australia.
#3 Australia will not be anywhere near full strength
Australia v New Zealand – One Day International Series: Game 3
Australia have named their squad for the T20I series against India, and they’re missing a few big names. Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis will nurse minor niggles and thereby miss the assignment, while David Warner was never in the picture.
So while Australia will still be a competitive unit, with Tim David ready to make his international debut for the Kangaroos, they won’t be an accurate reflection of the side India could run into at the T20 World Cup. The defending champions are among the best T20 sides in the world, but their combination is bound to be quite different against the Men in Blue.
India would’ve loved to play quality opposition before the T20 World Cup. While Australia are definitely still a top side, they can’t be labeled world-class without Starc, Warner, Marsh and Stoinis.
#2 India will need to be perfect with their decision-making in the batting department
India v Sri Lanka – DP World Asia Cup
With only six T20Is to go before the T20 World Cup, India are still nowhere near identifying their right batting order. They have several questions to answer and no time to answer them in, and they’ll need to be perfect with their decision-making against Australia.
Should Virat Kohli open the batting? If he does, where will KL Rahul play? Can Rishabh Pant continue to be entrusted with a middle-order role? Can Pant, Rahul, and Dinesh Karthik coexist in the playing XI?
A failure or two at the start of the series could force a rethink, which is something that might harm the team in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup. They need to arrive at their best possible batting lineup and stick with it through thick and thin, with the time for experimentation having passed them by. The Men in Blue could struggle majorly against Australia if they don’t keep things constant.
#1 India might not have quality death bowlers for part of the series
England v India – 3rd Vitality IT20
Arshdeep Singh will miss the T20I series against Australia, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t been great at the death recently. In such a scenario, the death-bowling responsibility falls on Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel.
Unfortunately for India, both Bumrah and Harshal are returning from injuries that kept them out of the Asia Cup. They are unlikely to be at full fitness, and even if they are, it would be unwise for the duo to play all three T20Is immediately after their return.
Bumrah and Harshal’s workload will have to be managed precisely, and that might leave India without any quality death bowlers for a portion of the series against Australia.