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5 players who need to perform in India vs Australia


India_Australia_Cricket_playersAfter brushing aside a hapless Sri Lankan outfit, India are set to host Australia for a five match ODI series starting on Sunday, 17th October at Chennai. A delayed continuation of the closely fought Test series between the two sides, the ODIs will put to test two teams in the top tier of the ODI rankings.

India are on a roll, having whitewashed Sri Lanka in their home while Australia arrive on the back of an embarrassing Test series drawn 1-1 against the Bangladeshis.

While a lot has been talked about the likes of Steven Smith, Virat Kohli, David Warner, Jasprit Bumrah, Pat Cummins and MS Dhoni, both teams have a few concerns to address in this almost context-less series, considering that the next major ODI event isn't happening until 2019, almost a full two years away.

Here we put together a list of five players from either team who need to step up to avoid being dropped from their respective ODI teams.

Matthew Wade

The Australian wicketkeeper-batsman has been under scrutiny for a rather long time due to his meagre returns across formats. A flamboyant left-handed batsman and an average keeper, Wade has rarely put in spectacular or consistent enough performances to justify his continued selection.

While his lone ODI hundred came in the previous season, Wade has averaged 32.5 with the bat during this period. Besides his less than impressive batting, his keeping has also often been criticised. With the likes of Tim Paine, playing for the World XI at the moment, Peter Handscomb and Sam Whiteman available, Wade will need to justify his selection in this series to retain his place in the side.

KL Rahul

The captain's favourite, KL or Lokesh Rahul, failed to come through with convincing enough performances when batting at no.4 in the series against Sri Lanka. He averaged less than 10 and looked completely bamboozled by Akila Dananjaya. Rahul is primarily an opener and has failed to adapt to his role at no.4 in the ODI setup.

With Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey waiting in the wings, Rahul may not get a longer rope even though he has the backing of the management and captain Virat Kohli, who also plays alongside him at Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rahul will need to do plenty of work on his batting against the older ball if the management persists in playing him at no.4.

Axar Patel

Picked in the team as a like-for-like alternative to Ravindra Jadeja, Axar did little to suggest that he should be in the team ahead of the no.2 Test bowler. Although he was tight with his lines and bowled well within his limitations, Axar needs to add an X-factor to his game if he needs to remain in the side.

With Jadeja and Ashwin waiting to return and the likes of Krunal Pandya and Washington Sundar churning out eye-catching performances in domestic cricket, Axar may not last much longer if he fails to impress in this series. His batting wasn't required too much in the Sri Lankan series, but against a tougher opponent like Australia, he may need to showcase his prowess with the willow as well.

James Faulkner

Back in the Australian ODI squad after missing out on a place in the Champions Trophy, James Faulkner has quite a few criticisms to deal with. The all-rounder was on top form with bat and ball the last time Australia toured India but that was a long time ago. His batting skills have since faded and even his slower balls and variations have been found out and become fodder for sloggers at the death.

Faulkner had rather slim returns in the IPL. He has added little to his bowling arsenal that suggests he would be a success this time around. With Marcus Stoinis, Moises Henriques and Hilton Cartwright pushing hard for places, Faulkner will be under severe pressure to grind out some dazzling performances.

Kedar Jadhav

India's new-found part-time spinner, Kedar Jadhav has time and again struck vital blows with the ball in recent ODIs. A seemingly innocuous off-spinner with a flattish, skiddy action, Jadhav has often reaped success with his stump to stump line. But his batting, which happens to be his main forte, remains a concern.

While he started off with some useful contributions in the middle and death overs, Jadhav has since failed to live up to his domestic reputation as a good finisher. With Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya all available as finishers, Jadhav will need to show consistency with the bat, especially in the middle overs of ODIs, to stay above the rest.


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