Tri-series: India, Australia, England begin World Cup preps
We have almost had everything in the last month and half, starting with the untimely demise of Phillip Hughes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni calling it a day in the longer format of the game. Cricket completed a full circle of life as the Test series ended with emergence of a new born star, KL Rahul, after it started on a sad note with the world coming together and mourning the death of a life taken away way too early.
But time is a big healer. The Test series got underway and ended amid emotional scenes, and now it’s time for the World Cup dress rehearsals, and in Australia, it comes by virtue of the Carlton Mid Triseries.The triangular series to be played between Australia, India and England would hint at what to expect in the coveted Cup in terms of conditions, the form of three teams involved, whether pitches will get slower and lower In the second half, whether to chase or bay first, and a lot more.
England, with all that they have gone through in the shorter format of the game, will look to start afresh with a new leader in the form of Eoin Morgan who can be as destructive as anybody on his day.While most of the players in the side are pretty much familiar with the format, young batman Gary Ballance and James Taylor would be looking to make the most of the opportunities that they get before the World Cup. In the absence of Alastair Cook, who had been left out of the World Cup squad, England would look for a bit of stability at the top of the order, and Ballance, during the Test series against India, showed good application and grit and seems to have it in him to weather the storm.
Steven Finn will be a bit rusty and the more he plays the better he will get as bowling is all about getting your rhythm back and once Finn gets that, he can come in handy with his slower ones and the kind of variations he has in his armory.The hosts have a more or less balanced side with no real surprises in their squad but need to get used to the pressure that they will have to endure in front of the home crowd and saying is always easier than doing.
Pat Cummins will come back into the scheme of things but the Australian fast bowler is also coming from a long ilayoff after getting injured and Australia need to careful with him and the way they decide to use him.Bowling in the nets and going through your action in an international match is a different ball game altogether and the difference is like chalk and cheese.
After losing the Test series 2-0, India would be looking to make things even with Australia in the format they are most comfortable playing, not to forget that they also hold the title of World Champions. The team under the able leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, possibly the best one-day player at the moment, would try out their options in order to sort out the best combination for the World Cup.
Axar Patel will get his opportunities, as will Stuart Binny and whoever makes it count will get the nod in the final eleven. The bigger riddle for Dhoni to solve would be the bowlers who can choke the flow of runs and pick up wickets.
Death bowling has been a worry for India for as long as anybody can remember and the likes of Mohammad Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Kumar need to learn the art of chipping in with the yorkers as the defending champions will need them the most as we come closer to the business end of the tournament.
All in all, it will be mock exams for the real test beginning with the World Cup from Feb 14.