After a dominating display of cricket against West Indies at home, the Indian squad is finally set to embark on their all-important tour to Australia. Virat and his Men in Blue will kick-off the tour with a three-match T20I series on 21 November, for which the Aussies have decided to rest their experienced trio of Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Marsh and Nathan Lyon, with an eye on the “really tough” Tests.
Australia are coming into the rubber after losing 0-3 to Pakistan in UAE. India on the other hand have had a pretty successful year in the format – away from home, they defeated England and South Africa, and also clinched the Nidahas Trophy in March.
With Steve Smith and David Warner still serving their one-year ban for the ball-tampering controversy, and a lot of the mainstays rested, here’s a look at which Aussie cricketers who could give India a tough fight in the T20Is.
Coming into the series on the back of a fairly successful debut year, D’arcy Short could be seen getting Australia off to a flyer in the T20Is. The 28-year-old opening batsman made his international debut during the Trans-Tasman T20I Tri-Series in February this year, and has since scored a total of 461 runs in 14 matches, including 4 half-centuries.
Short first shot into prominence during the 2017-18 Big Bash League where he finished as the highest scorer in the tournament. With 572 runs in 11 innings at a strike-rate of 148.57, he had 129 runs more than the second-highest scorer, and was also the cricketer with most runs in a single edition of the league’s history.
Subsequently, he was bagged by Rajasthan Royals for a massive Rs 4 crore – 20 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh – but failed to make a mark in his debut season, struggling to cope with spin. He didn’t have a great T20I series against Pakistan but did smash a record-breaking 257 off 148 balls in a 50-over match for Western Australia in September – setting the record for the highest score by an Australian in one-day cricket.
This man has just shattered the record books! ?@ShortDarcy smacked 257 off 148 balls against QLD -- the highest score EVER in Australian one-day cricket!— WACA (@WACA_Cricket) September 28, 2018
His demolition included 15 fours and... 23 SIXES (no joke)!!! ?#WestIsBest #JLTCup pic.twitter.com/UX2gPSA2FG
Another player in Australia’s T20I squad who is still in his first year as an international cricketer is Alex Carey. Like Short, the 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman also earned his maiden T20I cap during the Trans-Tasman Tri-Series – about a month after making his international debut during an ODI against England.
Since then he has played 15 Twenty20 Internationals, scoring a total of 86 runs at a strike-rate of 124.63.
Carey's breakout tournament was also the previous edition of the BBL, where he was the second-highest scorer with 443 runs in 11 matches. Finishing with a strike-rate of 141.53, he scored a century and two half-centuries during the league.
With a few years of international cricket in his resume, Adam Zampa is likely to be Australia’s go-to spinner in the T20I series against India. Known for his variation, leg-spin and googly, the 26-year-old has been part of the Aussie set-up since 2016.
Though he’s played just 17 T20Is, Zampa has an incredible economy rate of 6.06 in the shortest format. He knows his way around top-class batsman, and could be the hosts’ solution to tackling India captain Virat Kohli.
Zampa is also best remembered by Indian audiences for his 6/19 while playing for MS Dhoni’s Rising Pune Supergiant in his debut IPL season in 2016 – still the second-best figures in the league’s history. He picked up 19 wickets in 11 matches while playing for the Pune franchise in 2016 and 2017, but went unsold at the 2018 auction.
Featuring in the Aussie pace attack will be Billy Stanlake. Going by his height, and past-records, the Indian batsmen should be vary of the 6’8 fast bowler’s loaded bouncers. The 24-year-old, who started off as an Australian Rules Football player, turned to cricket after being picked for the U-19 team when he was just 16.
After playing just two matches for RCB in 2017, Stanlake was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 50 lakh. He started brightly with 5 wickets in 4 matches before being ruled out after due to an injury.
In the 15 T20Is he has played so far, Stanlake has picked up 23 wickets at an average of 19.65 and economy rate of 7.92.
Left-arm fast bowler Jason Behrendorff has played only twice for Australia, and both T20Is were against India, in India last year. The 28-year-old had rocked India by removing the entire top-order with four wickets in 12 balls in only his second appearance to lead an Australian win in Guwahati.
Picked by Mumbai Indians at last year’s auction for Rs 1.5 crore, he missed the entire season with a back injury but has been retained for the upcoming season. He also has an impressive overall T20 record – picking 57 wickets in 40 matches at an average of 18.56 and economy rate of 7.19.
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