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Australia series done, New Zealand await India. Will there be any fresh faces?

The final T20I between India and Australia was abandoned due to a wet outfield in Hyderabad on Friday. The series was shared 1-1.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Oct 14, 2017 11:32 IST
Abhishek Paul
Abhishek Paul
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
India vs Australia,India vs New Zealand,Indian cricket team
Will fans get to see any fresh faces in the Indian cricket team for the upcoming series against New Zealand.(AP)

In a season of home series, the Indian cricket team has wrapped up yet another assignment. The Australian T20I challenge did not result in absolute domination, but the hosts can take heart from the way a young bowling attack stood its own in the first game.

Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar all got wickets as Australia were restricted below 120. Indian batsmen then ensured an easy win.

Again a bowler wrote his name all over the second T20I, this time from the Australian side. Newbie Jason Behrendorff was an unknown entity before the match, but the 27-year-old pacer’s four-wicket burst ensured he would not remain so after the game.

READ | India and Australia share T20I series after wet outfield spoils decider

Fresh blood

With youngsters grabbing limelight in the first two matches, it came as a dampener when the decider in Hyderabad was abandoned due to wet outfield.

Nevertheless, India will continue to play till the end of the year at home with their next opponents being New Zealand in an ODI series, starting October 22. The New Zealand squad that India faces will have six players from the A team that is currently playing India A. It is an interesting incentive for those fringe players, vying for a place in the senior team.

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The Indian selectors have also started a process of rotation since the Sri Lanka away series in August-September and the same is likely to continue against the Kiwis. Seniors like Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja have in recent series’ made way for the younger lot as the permutation continues to find a right mix ahead of the 2019 cricket World Cup.

Likely choices

For India, there have been several young players who have been making the right noises. It might be prudent for selectors to give them a look-in, in familiar conditions.

Wicketkeeper-batsmen Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have both been in the India A side for quite some time now. Spinners Karn Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem did well to their chances with a good show against New Zealand A. Pacers Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj have also shown potential.

Though the current Indian line-up looks settled, several questions lurk in the back-drop like who is the No.1 injury back-up for MS Dhoni? Are there more options needed in the middle order? Who have been inconsistent? Or, is there any need for to give younger pacers a look-in with the World Cup being played in England?

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These are questions which need to be answered much ahead of the showpiece event in 2019.

With India travelling for most part of the next year, starting with South Africa in January, the selectors may go for an experienced side in overseas conditions.

But before that, the New Zealand and Sri Lanka series, beginning with a Test on November 16, may be two opportunities where the selectors can bring in fresh faces to give them a taste of the senior team.

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 11:31 IST