Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic there were lingering doubts how will the International bilateral cricket series would take place India’s tour of Australia was hanging in balance . But with the success of the Dream11 IPL 2020 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah , Indian cricket fans got the much needed live action back and happy to see their favourite stars back doing what they do best – playing cricket.
The ODI and t20 series between India and Australia were shared. Australia winning the ODI series 2-1 and India winning by the identical margin 2-1 the T20I series. And unlike the IPL 2020 where there was no crowds at the venues , in Australia players had crowds back giving them signs of return to normal. It was a pleasing sight at Sydney and Canberra.
For India the ODI and T20 series saw the arrival of new star in the horizon . The left arm seamer T Natarajan from Tamil Nadu . Having impressed all with his spells in the IPL while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad , Natarajan made a dream debut . He surprised all with his clever mixing of deliveries and using his potent weapon yorker effectively. With Jasprit Bumrah rested after a rather poor outing in the ODI series , Natarajan grabbed his chances with both hands to make a telling impact. Deepak Chahar known for his swing struggled hard in the T20 series. If Natarajan was the find then Sanju Samson did just the opposite. Sanju simply messed up the opportunity given to him to cement his place in the side. He looked good for big one only to throw away his wicket. Shreyas Iyer and Manish Pandey too could not carry their IPL 2020 form and were found wanting in International stage.
But despite these hiccups Indian batting stood tall with the likes of skipper Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, K L Rahul , Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja playing important knocks when the team needed them most. Hardik Pandya showed why he is the X factor in this Indian team with his audacious power hitting and his clean striking of the six with utter disdain thus establishing himself as a finisher a slot vacated by the retirement of the great Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Skipper Virat Kohli proved yet again why he is the best batsman in the world across all formats and when it comes to chase there is none better than him. He is truly a modern day great. Moreover, Rohit Sharma was hardly missed as was assumed when he was ruled out of the ODI and T20 series due to injury.
While India will feel happy winning the T20 series, deep down they would dwell upon the fact that Australia in the ODI and T20 series fielded virtually a second string bowling line- up. This attribute alone takes the sheen off India’s T20 series win. There was not Pat Cummins (rested) after two matches. Josh Hazelwood rested after 4 games . Mitchell Starc played only one T20I . What Indian batsmen faced were likes of Andrew Tye, Sean Abbott , Daniel Sams, Mitchell Swepson, Glenn Maxwell, Moises Henriques, Adam Zampa. And in batting there was no David Warner after first two ODI’s. His absence was clearly felt.
The two teams now face-off in the real Test – Test cricket with the D/N Test at Adelaide Oval from December 17 and one hopes like the ODI and T20I’s the Tests too are hard fought and engrossing for the fans. That will bring bring some cheer form the gloom of pandemic surely .