1st ODI Date: Friday, Sept 22 (Mohali)
2nd ODI Date: Sunday, Sept 24 (Indore)
3rd ODI Date: Wednesday, Sept 27 (Rajkot)
India and Australia begin a white ball series on Friday that will act as preparation for both countries as they gear up for the 2023 Cricket ODI World Cup. This is a split series, with three ODIs leading up to the tournament that begins on October 5. There will be five T20Is played between India and Australia after the World Cup in late November and early December.
India enters this having crushed Sri Lanka in the final of the Asia Cup. They look to be in fine form. This makes this series more meaningful for an Australian side that saw a 2-0 series lead evolve into a 3-2 series defeat at the hands of South Africa last time out. There are too many players looking a little out of form for the Aussies, so look for them to mix and match their squad to try to get players firing again.
Ravichandran Ashwin has played just two ODIs over the last six years, but the veteran spinner suddenly seems to be on the edge of India’s World Cup plans. Ashwin remains the best off-spinner in the country, and having him as an option on home soil makes sense. Hints have been given that Ashwin will play in all three of these ODIs, meaning he will have played more ODIs in a week than the previous six years combined.
India clearly feels like their preparations are almost complete. Kuldeep Yadav, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Hardik Pandya are some of the names being rested for the first two games against Australia. Expect all to get a hit out in the final ODI.
Australia will be looking to bed some players back in from injury in this series while making sure that none of their stars pick up a problem with the World Cup so near. This has already proven to be an issue, with batsman Travis Head being ruled out of at least the first half of the tournament with a fractured hand suffered against South Africa. Marnus Labuschagne is expected to replace Head both here and in the World Cup squad.
While Head is missing, this is a squad that does contain Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, and captain Pat Cummins for the first time in a while. Glenn Maxwell will arrive in time for the 2nd ODI too, with the Australian side looking to get in sync quickly.
The ticket in Mohali has produced high scores in the IPL, but this is a ground that hasn’t staged an ODI in four years. The weather suggests the day will be hot and dry, so that is something to consider when betting.
I like Starc to come straight back into the Australian team and be their best bowler at 3/1. With Cummins out, he is the obvious go-to guy. If you like Labuschagne to push for his World Cup claim, then he can be had in the batting market at 9/2.