India is touring Australia for two months, where they would play three ODIs and T20Is each, along with four Tests. Meanwhile, skipper Virat Kohli would be back in India after the opening Test, ahead of the birth of his first child in January, along with his wife, Anushka Sharma.
Just weeks after the Indian players are through the gruelling two-month Indian Premier League (IPL action in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they are off to Australia for two months of international cricket. Virat Kohli and co. are scheduled to play three ODIs and T20Is each, along with a four-Test series.
Meanwhile, Kohli would lead the side entirely during the limited-overs campaign, which gets underway from November 27. However, he would be back in India after the opening Test from December 17, as he looks to be with his Bollywood wife, Anushka Sharma, ahead of the birth of his first child in January.
It has led to mixed reactions, while critics feel that this could have an adverse effect on Team India. Meanwhile, former Australian seam legend Glenn McGrath feels that it means an opportunity for other top batsmen o play to their full potential.
"The birth of your child is a very important time and he wants to be there for it and support his wife. So, I can understand. There is no doubt that it will impact the series, for India to lose a player of his quality and class for potentially three of the four matches is a big blow. It's up to the other players to do the heavy lifting when he is not there," McGrath was quoted as saying in an exclusive interview with Sportstar.
"Rohit Sharma is a quality batsman who hasn't achieved at Test level what he should be achieving in my opinion... Maybe, when Virat goes home, he might step up. Having said that, you can't just focus on one player. You have (Ajinkya) Rahane, (Cheteshwar) Pujara, (KL) Rahul, so there's a quality batting line up. Once Virat leaves, it will be an opportunity for someone else to put their hand up and make a mark on the series. Maybe, that could be Rohit Sharma," added Mcgrath.
Speaking on the importance of the opening Test in Adelaide, which would be a day-night affair, McGrath said, "The first Test is going to be interesting - it is a Day/Night Test ... India haven't played a Day/Night Test in Australia before and it is unique, especially with the sun setting and at night, where it starts favouring the bowlers, primarily the quicks. It is about timing - when you are bowling or batting in those conditions. Virat, if he is going to have an impact, needs to come good in that Test match... the first Test will set the tone - two years ago, when they (India) were here, they won the first game in Adelaide and then, went on to win the series. So, both teams would want to get off to a good start."
India's prime pacer Jasprit Bumrah has not featured in Test matches since February, during the New Zealand tour. Speaking on his return to the longest format, Mcgrath feels, "(Jasprit) Bumrah is a class bowler. I have spoken to him, and I like his mindset, his attitude and the way he goes into a game. He has a lot of mental strength to go along with his skill. He bowls good pace and good areas... his second and third spells are just as quick as his first, so he has got every attribute to be one of the greats at the end of his career. He will be fine - it is about confidence and getting a few overs under your belt... the first few matches here will be important for him, in terms of finding the right length on the slightly quicker wickets here. That said, he did pretty well in the IPL recently, bowled a lot of overs, so he will be confident in his body."
India are the defending champions of the Boder-Gavaskar Trophy, having won the title during their last tour, in 2018-19, which also happened to be their first Test series win Down Under. Meanwhile, McGrath spoke on the chances of India this season and who are the favourites.
"Umesh Yadav's got raw pace, Mohammed Shami has great control and swings the ball both ways and Bumrah is just class. He has great mental strength. His second and third spells are just as quick as his first. You have guys who, if on fire, are tough to beat. But, on par, you have Josh Hazlewood, he bowls in good areas and is tall, strong," McGrath told ESPNCricinfo.
"Then, Pat Cummins is the No.1 bowler in the world. He runs in all day, always gives 100 per cent. He gets slightly different angles because of the way he runs in. Then, you have left-arm Mitchell Starc. When he gets it right, he can pick four-five wickets at a go. He has got that X-factor. If both teams are bowling at the top of their game, I would probably put Australia slightly ahead, only because of the left-hander, which makes a big impact," concluded McGrath.
Last Updated 17, Nov 2020, 5:44 PM