The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has ended. Now, it is time for Indian cricketers to wear the blue jersey as they will be back in action, from November 27, in Australia.
The Virat Kohli-led ‘Men in Blue’ team has already arrived in Australia. They will play three ODIs, three T20Is, and four Tests. Kohli will miss the last part of the tour, as he will return home after the first Test, to be with his wife Anushka Sharma, as they are expecting their first child.
In IPL 2020, Mumbai Indians proved, once again, why they are one of the best T20 teams in the world, by claiming an unprecedented fifth IPL title. The tournament witnessed many top-class performances from Indian players, though some of them failed.
Related News: Team India gets new apparel sponsor
Here, we take a look at the form of Kohli and Co. ahead of the high-profile Australia series:
Who are the in-form players?
Kohli (466 runs), Rohit Sharma (332 runs), KL Rahul (670 runs), Shikhar Dhawan (618 runs), Shreyas Iyer (519 runs), Mayank Agarwal (424 runs), Manish Pandey (425 runs), Shubman Gill (440 runs), Hardik Pandya (281 runs), Jasprit Bumrah (27 wickets), Yuzvendra Chahal (21 wickets), Mohammed Shami (20 wickets), Ravindra Jadeja (232 runs, six wickets), T Natarajan (16 wickets), and Ravichandran Ashwin (13 wickets)–they were good for their respective franchises in IPL 2020.
Among these players, Kings XI Punjab captain Rahul stood out. He won the Orange Cup by being the leading run scorer, with one century and five fifties. Now, he is back in the Test team as well. He is the first-choice wicketkeeper for India in the limited-overs format with MS Dhoni’s retirement.
In the bowling charts, Mumbai Indians’ Bumrah was second, with 27 wickets and two four-wicket hauls. As usual, he was outstanding, and one of the main architects of Mumbai’s title triumph. Also, off-spinner Washington Sundar was superb, even though he did not bag plenty of wickets. He was economical, going for only 5.96 in 15 matches. He took eight wickets.
Though he has recovered from his injury, Rohit has been omitted from the limited-overs squads. He will return for Tests.
Players who struggled in IPL 2020
The biggest worry for India in Australia would be the current form of Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Though it is unfair to compare the right-hander’s IPL form with the five-day format, lack of match practice, in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a cause for concern. Also, he will lead the side in three Tests in Kohli’s absence. Australia is a tough place for visiting batsman, and it becomes added pressure when you are the captain. Rahane could not find a place in Delhi Capitals’ XI in the initial stages but made it to the team later. However, he was not impressive barring one game, when he hit a fifty. He tallied just 113 runs in eight innings.
Another major failure was Rahane’s Delhi teammate Prithvi Shaw. The youngster is in the Test squad. He headed to Australia with low scores of 4, 0, 0, 7, 10, 9, 0 in his last seven games.
Also, Delhi’s Rishabh Pant will be low on confidence. Though he hit a half-century in the final, he did not have a good IPL record. He scored 343 runs but struggled as his strike rate was 113.95 and averaged 31.18.
Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) Shardul Thakur too did not have a good IPL show, taking 10 wickets from nine games, and went for 8.50 per over. He is in the ODI squad.
Paceman Umesh Yadav played just two games for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and failed to take any wicket. Also, his economy rate was 11.85. He is part of the Test squad.
Another player who will be low in confidence is left-arm chinaman bowler, Kuldeep Yadav. He took just one wicket in the IPL and played only five games. He too is in the Test squad, but given his current form, he may not get a chance, unless Ashwin or Jadeja get injured.
T20I: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (vice-captain and wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan.
ODI: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (vice-captain & wicket-keeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper).
Test: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Mohd. Siraj.