In the last decade, the rivalry between India and Australia has intensified so much that performing well against each other now defines the benchmark of excellence.
During India’s current tour of Australia, a lot of fresh faces will be playing their first series against each other. Let’s take a look at the Indian players who are promising, talented and raring to make a mark during the series.
ViratKohli : He had proved his worth in the limited-overs game and now has a chance to cement his place in Tests. Aggressive style, mature head and technically sound, Virat is a batsman to look out for Team India against the Aussies. Competing for the No. 6 position with Rohit Sharma, Kohli consolidated his case with a well-crafted century in the warm-up match. He sure looks game-ready. He knows what it takes to be a part of a Champion side - be it the Under 19 India Team that lifted the 2008 Youth World Cup or be it the India Team that won the ICC World Cup 2011!
Lets see what ViratKohli has so far achieved at the highest level. Without any doubt, Virat'sODI profile looks awesome with 8 centuries already along with 18 half centuries for a 23-year-old! In Test matches, Kohli is yet to cement his place in the side, and when he did get the opportunities, he hasn't fully utilized them. Of course, we are talking about just the 4 Tests that he has played in which there are barely two half centuries with a poor average of around 27.00.
We all know and the entire world knows what a talent ViratKohli is. Its only matter of time that he excelled in the longer version of the game as well. Unlike Yuvraj who was phenomenally successful in ODIs but struggled to get going in Tests, Virat certainly has better chances all because of his ability to handle the short ball at red hot speeds. Its time to make it big for Virat down under!
Rohit Sharma : One of the pleasant batsmen to watch in World Cricket, Rohit Sharma has impressed most people with his talent. Whether it is defence or attacking shots, Rohit has everything in order. His backfoot play against the quicks is the most delightful part of his batting and one that sets him apart from the rest of the other young batsmen. And that backfoot game of his could well come in handy in the 4-Test Series against the Aussies. This 24-year-old Mumbai batsman has already shown that he can perform on the pacy and bouncy conditions in Australia which he did during the CB Triangular Series in the previous down under tour in 2008.
Time has come for Rohit Sharma to cement his place in the Indian Test team. He will have to hold the Indian batting together for years to come by once the trio of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman decide to hang their boots from Test Cricket. For all the talent that he has, Rohit has been suffering from his own incosistency, if he can be more precise with the shot selection, then good scores will come for him regularly.
Rohit's ODI Career seems to be heading towards the right path thanks to the good show in the recent times against West Indies. With two 100s and 11 50s with an average of around 35.00 in ODIs, Rohit has enough space to improve upon his performance. He is yet to make his Test Debut but is surely going to get the nod in the upcoming series in Australia. For a player like Rohit Sharma, it all about showing more patience at the crease along with proper shot selection and the runs will flow automaticaly for all the good looking shots that he has in his game.
Ravichandran Ashwin : The tall spinner from Chennai has impressed one and all with his gritty attitude and wicket-taking abilities. Picked ahead of Harbhajan Singh, who is known as Australia’s nemesis, speaks a lot about him. And all those critics who thought he wouldn’t be effective on Australian wickets had to take their words back when he returned with impressive figure of 4/14 in the first innings of the second practice match. He was also economic in the second innings.
When Ashwin took a good number of wickets in the Tests against the West Indies, everybody talked that India would miss Bhajji's useful batting in the lower order. But Ashwin like a hero showed what batting talent he has as well when he scored a neat century against the West Indies with authentic cricketing shots! To his advantage, Ashwin does give the ball a big tweak, he has the carrom ball which can take the ball away from the right handers and the drifters that can trouble the lefties. Harbhajan has been struggling in the recent times for the simple facts that his offie wasn't turning viciously and his doosra which is not allowed by the ICC anymore has made him a very predictable bowler.
On the Australian pitches, if not turn, Ashwin will certainly get the extra bounce because of his height which will keep the close-in fielders in the game. Let's see how a Ponting plays Ashwin in the coming days...
R Vinay Kumar : This Bangalore pacer caught everyone’s attention with his bowling stint with the Royal Challengers in the IPL. His impressive show soon got him an India call. He’s yet to make his Test debut but in 15 ODIs that he has played, he has 18 wickets to his credit. Accuracy and variation in bowling are his strength. He’s one bowler to look out for.
This Karnataka pacer is a hard working honest cricketer who knows his limitations very well. He at the most bowls at harmless speeds of 125-130 kmph but has the ability to swing and seam the ball around. Under helpful conditions, the batsmen will have to respect him for the late movement that he can get just like how Praveen Kumar got on the England tour. The Aussies could either smash Vinay's swinging deliveries to the boundaries or edge them to the fielders behind the stumps!
Umesh Yadav : This Vidarbha pacer made a quick entry into the Indian cricket team. He got himself noticed with his pace during IPL 2010 in which he played for Delhi Daredevils. He got his first chance when he was flown to the West Indies for the World Twenty20 as a replacement for Praveen Kumar. That he didn’t play a T20 game is a different story. He got a Test call for the South Africa series but it took him a year to make his Test debut. He played his first Test against the West Indies and picked 9 wickets in 2 matches.
So if Zaheer is for swing, Vinay Kumar for accuracy, Ishant for generating bounce, then Umesh is definitely a player to watch out for pace. When everyone was going gaga about Varun Aaron being the fastest ever bower for India, Umesh Yadav took the limelight in the West Indies Test Series by consistently clocking 145 kmph and rattling the stumps.
The 24-year-old Umesh Yadav has everything in his bowling to find success in Australia. First things first, Umesh shouldn't get carried away with the extra lift and pace that he can find off the pitches down under. Rather he has to concentrate on his consisteny first and the rest could all fall in place. He also has to watch out that the Aussies would come hard at him with the pulls, hooks and cuts. Umesh will have to use swing with pace and the occasional change of lengths. He should be a delight to watch on the pacy, bouncy Australian tracks!
Abhimanyu Mithun : Spotted by Royal Challengers coach Ray Jennings during the IPL trials a couple of years back, Mithun has the ability to generate pace and bowl effective bouncers. Although he is more often than not has been called in the side as a replacement for injured players, Mithun has been impressive in whatever opportunities he has been given. Will he get a chance in Australia?
Well Mithun hasn't really scared the batsmen with his pace, he has at the most clocked around 135 kmph which is pretty modest. This guy hasn't shown his talent to the fullest at the top level. In the final ODI against West Indies, this lanky Karnataka lad showed some spark, some much needed agression which seemed to be missing all the while. Perhaps if he can really lift his standards, Mithun can get the ball to nip in and nip away at sharp speeds. What he has is good height and the ability to release the ball with an upright seam.
Ajinkya Rahane : It’s highly unlikely that this Mumbai batsman will get an opportunity to open for India, as he did in the practice games, as the pair of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir remains the first choice. But in case he does get a chance, he has an exceptional domestic season to back his potential and confidence. Though he failed to capitalize the chance he got in the warm-up games, Rahane has the ability to provide a solid foundation for the middle order.
Rahane is definitely one of those players India would be looking for in the future. This Mumbai Cricketer showed some good technique on the English tour which should keep in good stead. He is just 23 and has heaps of time to develop into a regular Test opener for India. We never know, Rahane could get to play in one of the four Test matches down under.