India vs Australia 2019: Selection headaches dominate the conversation ahead of 5th ODI

Shyam

Ashton Turner turned the 3rd ODI on its head with his blitzkrieg innings

India and Australia have both played great cricket in the series so far, with neither team being truly dominant. But close matches are fun for everyone except the selectors.

For the selectors, close matches give plenty of headaches in terms of finalizing a team. With a big tournament like the World Cup coming up in May, it is vital that the selection committees of the respective countries get their combination right.

The Indian selectors already have trouble trying to slot KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Vijay Shankar and Ambati Rayudu in the middle order. The battle is intense, with four people competing for 2 slots.

What makes the think tank's work even harder is the difference of conditions in matches. The pitch at Mohali was a flat deck and offered no spin whatsoever. To compare Rahul and Pant's performance on that pitch against say Rayudu, becomes tough and probably even unfair.

India have just one more international match before the World Cup, and it is questionable as to whether their selection woes would be resolved in that one match.

The Australian selectors probably have even bigger headaches. The million dollar question is whether Steven Smith and David Warner would feature in the Australian team for the World Cup.

Australia have shown a lot of fight and played great cricket even without the two banned superstars. Whether Smith and Warner will be picked on the basis of their IPL performance, only time will tell. Considering that they have been left out of the last 2 matches against Pakistan, it will be very difficult to select them on merit.

It would also not be appropriate to select players for the 50-over format on the basis of performances in the shorter format of the game.

However, Australia may have found another match winner in Ashton Turner. Those who watch the Big Bash Down Under would know that Turner plays for the Perth Scorchers. Turner came into the series against India at the last minute, for the injured Marcus Stoinis. And Stoinis is also a proven match winner.

The Aussie selectors have a decision to make. Do they continue with Turner, do they get back Stoinis, or do they play the both of them?

On the bowling front too, Justin Langer and Co will have to figure out the best combination when some of the premier bowlers come back into the side. Who will be chosen among Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Coulter Nile and Adam Zampa? Thankfully, Australia have more time to select the team. They play Pakistan in a 5 match ODI series, their last international series before the World Cup.

Selectors having headaches is always good for the fans. Games will go down to the wire, there will be thrilling performances and a lot of records too could get broken. As it is in all cases, it is a zero-sum game; the pain for the selectors will result in gain for the spectators.