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IND vs AUS T20Is, an absurd series or is there some relevance to it?

After the completion of the ODI World Cup 2023, T20 cricket hits India and Australia as the two giants face each other in a five-match contest. The series is coming just four days after India's heartbreak in the 50-over tournament without the big guns. Does this hold relevance?

Written By: Varun Malik @varunm0212 New Delhi Published on: November 23, 2023 13:06 IST
India vs Australia, IND vs AUS T20I series
Image Source : INDIA TV Suryakumar Yadav and Matthew Wade, the two captains for the IND vs AUS T20I series.

India vs Australia, a faceoff which is sort of a daily soap opera in 2023 now. The two giants have crossed paths with each other several times in the ongoing year and will meet each other at five more junctions in a five-match T20I series. The first stop of this meeting will be in Visakhapatnam on November 23 with a few new faces in a new format but with the same old foes facing each other.

On a lighter side, it looks like Australian players are more in India than in their own homes in 2023. They have played a Test series, an ODI series, IPL, another ODI series and the ODI World Cup already in 2023 before the curtain raiser of the T20I series on November 23. But is there any relevance to it or is it just another series?

What's the relevance of the IND vs AUS T20I series?

After the heartbreak of the ODI World Cup, fans and even players are finding it hard to move on and digest what unfolded in Ahmedabad on November 19. With many still not able to forget the disappointment, another series stands on the horizon without the big guns and that too just four days after the World Cup. 

Even the new India captain Suryakumar Yadav stated that it would take time to get over the loss but stated that one has to move on. "It is difficult. It will take time. It can't be that you get up the next morning, and forget everything that happened. It was a long tournament. Obviously, we would have loved to win. But you have to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. You have to forget, and move on," Suryakumar said in a press conference ahead of the series. But still, what shall we look up to in this series?

Notably, this is part of India's only three T20I series before the T20 World Cup in 2024. India will be playing five T20Is vs Australia, three vs South Africa and three vs Afghanistan ahead of the IPL 2024 before the T20 World Cup loads in. There are opportunities for young players to cement their places in the squad for the tournament, which is roughly six months away from now. India will be without the services of players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Mohammed Shami - the players who are considered the cream of Indian cricket in the series against Australia. While Sharma's participation in T20Is is in doubt for the future, one cannot rule out the chance the young blood will get in the absence of Pandya, Jadeja, Bumrah, Gill and Kuldeep. 

Fight for opening slot, middle order and bowling

As it looks, the Indian selectors have given chances to many players in T20Is in the past year. This also owes to the players from the top cream being rested with the ODI World Cup in mind. But as it has just concluded, the selectors picked only Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Prasidh Krishna from the World Cup lot, leaving the other 12 with free time. Players like Pandya, Jadeja, Gill and Kuldeep shall return while it does not seem that the doors for others are closed completely. 

But there is a good chance for the current squad players to impress the BCCI think tank and knock on the door of selection for the long run. There is a fight for the opening slot in the team in T20Is. Gill seems to be the leading candidate for one opening spot across formats, while there is competition for the other between Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Ruturaj Gaikwad (as per the current squad players) and who knows if Rohit and KL Rahul will get into the mix again in the shortest format. 

Players like Rinku Singh, Tilak Varma and Shivam Dube also have good opportunities in the middle order as Pandya, Pant and Jadeja are not in the team. The BCCI has invested heavily in the young crop since the experienced players have not played the format after the completion of the T20 World Cup 2022. If some of these players give their best, it might not be easy for BCCI to ignore them for the 20-over World Cup next year.

Similarly in the bowling group, the less experienced players like Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan and Prasidh Krishna have a chance in the absence of Bumrah, Kuldeep and Shami. 

Since the end of the 2022 World Cup, India have fielded players like Rinku Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shivam Dube, Tilak Varma, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Washington Sundar, Ishan Kishan, Umran Malik, Rahul Tripathi, Mukesh Kumar, Shivam Mavi, Jitesh Sharma and Ravi Bishnoi in their T20I setup.

While the timing of the series could have been a bit better, the series, by no means, seems just another one. It can provide decent insight to both the teams even if it is coming onto our faces after the ODI World Cup as another World Cup is hanging around in an era of regular World Cups.

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