Australia will have to do without “all-time great” David Warner as they take on India in a three-match Twenty20 series.
Just 48 hours after completing the third and final one-dayer, the two nations must quickly switch their focus to the shortest format.
Manuka Oval in Canberra stages the opening T20 on Friday before the teams complete the series in Sydney, which hosted the first two ODI fixtures – both won by the home team.
However, Australia lost the finale when without the services of Warner, who is dealing with a groin injury that leaves him battling to be fit for the upcoming Tests against the same opponents.
Captain Aaron Finch admits it is never easy to be without a player of Warner’s abilities, albeit the opening batsman’s absence offers an opportunity for others with next year’s T20 World Cup looming large on the horizon.
“It would be great to have him available, no doubt. But these things happen. Injuries happen. He’s an all-time great in one-day cricket, in T20 cricket,” Finch said after the third ODI.
“I don’t think there’s many better players to have played the game, so any team that he is not a part of is going to be slightly weaker, I think. But we have got guys who can step up and really contribute heavily in that role as well.”
India will be hosting next year’s global tournament after the 2020 edition, due to take place on Australian soil, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Virat Kohli leads the tourists but will not be present for the entire Test series that follows; India’s skipper is to return home after the opening game to be present at the birth of his first child.
The Australian men’s team will celebrate our First Nations people this summer by wearing this incredible Indigenous playing shirt for the entirety of the #AUSvIND Dettol T20 series! pic.twitter.com/GmD36G8XoC
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) November 11, 2020
It is not just Warner missing for Australia; pace bowler and vice-captain Pat Cummins is also set to be absent, while Mitchell Marsh is ruled out.
Marcus Stoinis, meanwhile, is nursing a side strain and Mitchell Starc was not risked in the third and final one-dayer due to a back issue.
Andrew Tye had already replaced Kane Richardson in the squad while Cameron Green – fresh from making his international debut on Wednesday – could be given further chances for the home side, who will be wearing Indigenous shirts for all three games.
Glenn Maxwell is available too – and is in excellent form with the bat. He posted scores of 45 or more in each of his three knocks in the 50-over games.
RAHUL RIGHT IN FORM
India have a decision to make at the top of the order with Rohit Sharma not available.
KL Rahul could be used there after an outstanding Indian Premier League season with King’s XI Punjab, as he finished the 2020 tournament as the competition’s leading run-scorer.
The right-hander has also amassed more runs in T20 international cricket since 2019 than any other batsman from a Test-playing nation, managing 452 at a stunning average of 75.3.
Ravindra Jadeja, meanwhile, is in contention to make his 50th T20 appearance for India, a milestone only seven other players have achieved for the country.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Australia can record three multi-game bilateral T20 series victories on the bounce at home for the first time, having defeated Sri Lanka and Pakistan on home soil in 2019.
– India have registered five victories in their past six T20 outings in Australia (L1); all eight fixtures between these sides in the country have been won after losing the toss.
– Australia have only been involved in one previous men’s T20 fixture at Manuka Oval, beating Pakistan by a margin of seven wickets with nine balls remaining in November 2019.
– Kohli has scored more runs in men’s T20 games between these sides than anyone else (584); that is the most ever registered against a single opponent in the history of the format.