How can India counter the Maxwell-David threat?
Tim David will make his debut for Australia [PC: Twitter]
Two fiercest rivals of modern cricket, India and Australia, will lock horns against each other in the three-match T20I series starting Tuesday.
The series holds paramount importance for both teams, as it will help them fine-tune their preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
India's bowling was their primary concern in the recently concluded Asia Cup, where the Men in Blue unexpectedly faltered in the Super four stage.
So, India's contest with the ruthless Australian batting unit will assist them in figuring out their best bowling combination before the World Cup.
I feel the lethal duo of Glenn Maxwell and Tim David will emerge as a headache for the Indian bowlers. While Maxwell can maul spin as well as medium pace, David possesses incredible hitting ability against raw pace.
So, how can India counter Maxwell and David?
Axar Patel: India's trump card against Maxwell and David
Axar Patel in action [PC: Twitter]
Glenn Maxwell and Tim David have struck at 154.70 and 157.40, respectively, against right-arm medium pacers, off-spinners and leg-spinners in the shortest format. However, they have recently recorded modest numbers against slow left-armers (SLAs).
While David has been dismissed four times by the SLAs for just 51 runs (SR 115.9), Maxwell has averaged a mere 8.66 (52 runs, six dismissals) and struck at an ordinary rate of 115.55 against them in T20 cricket this year.
Considering these numbers, we expect Axar Patel to be India's go-to man against this deadly duo.
Axar should keep the ball slightly away from their arc and try to deceive them by his trajectory. Also, he can surprise them with his arm ball, which comes back into the right-handers with the angle.
Jasprit, the inevitable, Bumrah
Bumrah has always dominated Maxwell [PC: Twitter]
India's best T20 bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, will make his comeback in this series after recovering from an injury that ruled him out of the Asia Cup. Bumrah has always had the upper hand in his battle with Glenn Maxwell.
Statistically, Maxwell averages only 10.71 (75 runs, seven dismissals) and strikes at 115.38 against Bumrah in T20 cricket.
Bumrah's ability to hit the deck hard and nail the yorkers at a good pace has worked wonders for him. So, he will be asked to challenge Maxwell by pounding the ball on the hard length and surprising him with an occasional yorker.
Although Tim David hasn't played Bumrah yet, he can be troubled by his accurate bouncers. However, in any case, Bumrah shouldn't pitch the ball full and allow David to hit through the line.
Thus, I expect Axar Patel and Jasprit Bumrah to be India's two trustworthy weapons against Tim David and Glenn Maxwell in this series. But they will require the co-operation of other bowlers too.
Yuzvendra Chahal needs to deceive David by his googlies, and Harshal Patel and Bhuvneshwar Kumar should avoid feeding freebies to this duo. Therefore, if the Indian bowlers step up as a unit, they will undoubtedly succeed in countering the Maxwell-David threat.