With the T20 World Cup pushed back to 2021, Australia are looking to put in the groundwork now as they prepare to face the tournament’s hosts India in December and January. The delay came as a disappointment to all concerned, but with all teams in the same position, head coach Justin Langer will be determined to make sure his players make the most of the extra preparation time given to them.
Australia could not ask for a much better opponent to face next up, as they prepare to take on the 2021 World Cup hosts India in a three-match ODI series after the Test action has been concluded. This intriguing ODI series in the second-shortest format of the game will see two of the favourites for next year’s major tournament go head to head, with Australia currently 4/1 in the cricket betting to lift the trophy.
Granted, this is not exactly the same format as the T20 competition next year in India, but many of the same faces will feature in the highly-anticipated event, which all gets underway in October. The competition was originally planned to be held in Australia but the tournament has since been moved, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) has plumped for India as the new hosts.
With the final preparations for India's arrival on Australian shores taking place at present, soon two of the giants of world cricket will be ready to face each other in what should be an intriguing contest. Ironically, it is currently over in India where many of the Australian stars, who hope to catch the eye of coach Langer, have been working on their craft in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Experienced batsman and former skipper Steve Smith is just one of those stars and has been looking to impress with the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL before getting stuck into India over the upcoming Test and ODI series.Smith, who impressed in T20 action for Australia with a Player of the Series award against Pakistan at the end of last year, is already excited by the prospect of going up against skipper Virat Kohli and his men. “It’s going to be a hard-fought series, as usual,” he told Gulf News, “both teams have quality batting, bowling line-ups with some excellent fast bowlers. I am looking forward to the challenge.”
The imminent ODI series will represent a good acid test for Australia ahead of the World Cup, and gives an opportunity for some of the country’s fringe players to stake a claim for a seat on the flight to India next year. It should prove to be an intriguing series between two sides that history suggests will be there or thereabouts come the business end of the next T20 World Cup.
Australia’s first ODI encounter against the tourists, India, is scheduled to take place at the impressive Optus Stadium in Perth on January 12.