From getting annihilated on the New Zealand soil to plying their trade for respective IPL franchise in the UAE — Indian players have had a roller-coaster 2020, owing to the unexpected coronavirus hiatus which shook the entire cricket scenario. The disrupted international calendar led to fans missing out on several events including the coveted T20 World Cup in Australia, which was pushed further amid Covid-19 threat.
After staying away from the action for over eight months, Virat Kohli-led Indian contingent is finally set to resume international cricket with the much-awaited series against the Aussies.
After three ODI and as many T20Is starting from November 27 in Sydney, the rivalry between both the cricket heavyweights will end with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy — the highlight of the tour, especially after India’s maiden triumph Down Under in the previous four-Test series in 2018-19.
To set the ball rolling, Kohli’s brigade will aim to deliver an impressive performance in the white-ball series involving six fixtures. Talking about the previous ODI series clash between both the sides, India had registered a 2-1 win over the Aaron Finch-led side after getting outdone in the first game at Wankhede.
The Aussies were looking like favourites to clinch the series after registering a comprehensive 10-wicket win in the opening clash. However, the Men in Blue retaliated and pocketed the series by winning subsequent two encounters, On the back of individual batting performances and match-winning spells, Kohli’s men came from back to claim the series.
That being said, let’s look at the top performers from the previous India-Australia ODI series:
Though Rohit Sharma won’t be seen donning the coloured jersey in Australia, fans will be hoping to see him delivering in the traditional format. The Hitman looked in great touch in the previous ODI series against the Aussies and hit a match-winning century in the decider at Bengaluru. Labelled as the man for big occasions, Rohit stepped up with it mattered and also bagged Player of the Match for his 119-run knock.
Chasing a challenging 286-run total seemed like a cakewalk when Rohit was in the middle. He stuck until the 37th over to make things easier for the Men in Blue. Despite scoring just 10 and 42 in the first two ODIs, Rohit emerged among the most impressive players, courtesy his majestic century at Chinnaswamy.
The India-Australia ODI series was more than a three-match encounter for KL Rahul. The Karnataka lad donned the wicketkeeping gloves and batted at three different positions in three games.
Proving his ability to shuffle and score at any given position, Rahul made 47 and 80 in the first two matches. He even donned the opener’s role in the series decider and scored 19. His 80 off 52 in the second ODI played a crucial role in India posting a daunting 340-run total on the scoreboard. Apart from his batting exploits, Rahul, in the absence of Rishabh Pant, was excellent behind the stumps.
Often labelled as the most consistent modern-day batsman, skipper Virat Kohli finished as the second-highest run-scorer of the series and also bagged Player of the Series award. After failing in the first game, Kohli gathered 78 and 89 in the second and third ODIs.
Despite failing to notch up a three-figure score, Kohli’s contribution in Team India amassing a daunting total was essential. He also crossed the 5000-run mark as a captain, becoming the fastest to do so. The skipper reached the mark during India’s run-chase in the series decider.
Steve Smith finishing the series with the highest run-getter was a testament to his consistency and temperament. The prolific run-scorer was in great touch post his ball-tampering ban and he delivered in the shorter format too.
Known for his red-ball exploits, Smith played a couple of impressive knocks. In the second and third ODI, he scored 98 and 131. Though his knocks went down the drain, his performance with the willow was arguably the best in the three-game series. The right-hander scored 229 runs in two innings and was the only one who gathered more than 200 runs.
Marnus Labuschagne didn’t take much time to make his presence known at the biggest stage. The South Africa-born started his journey as a concussion substitute and instantly became a vital cog in Australia’s wheel.
Labuschagne ended 2019 by becoming the highest run-getter in the longest format after scoring 1022 at an impressive average of over 60. He also looked in good touch against India. In the second and third ODI, he scored 46 and 54 respectively. Though he didn’t play a colossal knock, Labuschagne, with his sweeps, played spinners with ease and looked fluid when he was in the middle.