India vs Australia 1st T20I: Pace challenge awaits Virat Kohli’s men at Gabba

first_imgIndia are back in Australia. And there is no bigger contest in cricket than a face off between these two teams. So expect fireworks, heroics and plenty of drama.Australia are considerably weakened without Steve Smith and David Warner, who were banned for a year after the ball-tampering scandal rocked the cricket world. Moreover, it rocked Australian cricket and its administrators rushed into damage control mode.So far, Australia’s batting duo has missed three Tests – one against South Africa and two against Pakistan. They lost two and drew one, due in no small measure to gutsy new skipper Tim Paine. But India will be a different proposition – so much is at stake here.First off, the T20Is which start on Wednesday. Australia have won only five matches against India in the shortest format. India have won 10. One has produced no result. Smith and Warner love playing against India and their presence would have been a huge boost to the hosts, who would look to start strong against a dangerous Indian outfit.Also read – Virat Kohli not underestimating Australia without Steve Smith and David WarnerIndia have not travelled as well as they would have liked this year. They lost the Test series in South Africa but won the ODI and T20I series. In England, India were triumphant in the T20I series but lost the ODI and Test series. In short, Kohli’s team thrives in the T20 format.But Australia have enough firepower at their disposal to challenge the Indians in three-match T20I series from November 21 to 25. Under Aaron Finch, Australia have a potent shorter format side and the skipper believes his team can challenge India.advertisementThe ODIs will be played in the New Year (January 12 to 18) and they will allow the teams a chance to finalise their World Cup core. But that is for later.READ – Ahead of Brisbane T20I, Steve Waugh reminds India of “ordinary away record”The real focus would be on the Test matches. Come December 6 and Virat Kohli will get a chance to define his legacy as captain. There is no doubting his capabilities as a batsman. He is the leading run-scorer this year (again) with 1063 runs in 10 Test: he played 8 of those in South Africa and England. It would suffice to say Virat Kohli has cracked the code to success away from home.But what about the others? The bowlers have been remarkable. Jasprit Bumrah has emerged as the captain’s go-to bowler. Kuldeep Yadav is wily. Ravindra Jadeja’s return means India have more options in the Test format.It’s the other batsmen who need to step up. Prithvi Shaw is young and will be tested on his first away tour. Murali Vijay, if selected, for the first Test, will get a chance to make amends after a disappointing England tour. Ajinkya Rahane has not been himself while Cheteshwar Pujara rediscovered his mojo in England.Also read – Australia skipper Aaron Finch ready to challenge India in T20I seriesKohli’s greatest challenge on the tour of Australia would be to inspire his batsmen to show their true class against a dangerous pace attack. Smith and Warner won’t play for Australia this summer but Mitchell Starc will. As will Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. These are dangerous pacers. And do not forget Nathan Lyon – a wily off-spinner.A good start in the T20Is will help of course but that is no guarantee to success in whites. India had a poor Test series against South Africa but they bounced back to win the ODI and T20I series.In England, India stormed to victory in the T20I series but lost the ODI and Test series.However, confidence is a good thing to carry over. Most of India’s limited-overs specialists will make way for the Test regulars in December but who knows what a good start could do!READ – India name playing XI for 1st T20I vs Australia, Rishabh Pant to keep wicketsConsequently, they named a strong 12-member team for the first game in Brisbane. Rohit. Dhawan. Kohli. Rahul. Pant. Dinesh. Krunal. Kuldeep. Bhuvneshwar. Bumrah. Chahal.These men are high on confidence and will back themselves to dominate their hosts. Australia are perhaps a little vulnerable but Kohli is not going to take them lightly.The teams have had contrasting recent fortunes. India have lost only one of their last five T20Is. Australia have won only one of their last five.But Australia will draw solace in home conditions. The Gabba will offer extra bounce and Australia’s tall pacers would be itching to have a go at India’s batsmen. They would be desperate to draw first blood against the visitors and create plenty of doubts before the Tests get underway next month.advertisementCan India’s batsmen stand up to the Aussie quicks? Will the Brisbane T20I give us a peak into how Kohli’s men plan to tackle the Australian pace threat? It very well might.Also watch –last_img