How Can Steve Smith Resolve Australia's Selection Conundrum For India ODIs?
Steve Smith will lead Australia in the India ODIs [Source: Twitter]
After a hectic Test season, it's time to celebrate white-ball cricket, as hosts India will lock horns against Australia in a three-match ODI series starting this Friday.
Speaking of the Australian team, they have suffered a massive blow, with their regular skipper Pat Cummins pulling out of the tour due to family reasons.
Furthermore, the return of Glenn Maxwell has emerged as a happy headache for the Australian management, as they are puzzled regarding their best possible combination for this high-voltage series.
While it's confirmed that Steve Smith will lead the side, curiosity is built around the structure of the rest of their squad.
So, before the much-awaited series begins, let's analyse and find out the ideal XI for Australia heading to the first encounter in Mumbai.
Top Order: Travis Head, David Warner, Steve Smith
Travis Head will play a key role for Australia [Source: Twitter]
There should be the least confusion regarding Australia's top three. While the head coach Andrew McDonald has confirmed that David Warner will be back for the ODIs, Travis Head and Steve Smith are the obvious choices for the second opener and number three batter, respectively.
Upper Middle Order: Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey
While Alex Carey will be preferred for the keeper's role ahead of Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne's place in the team is not confirmed, given Australia have Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis in the squad.
However, as of now, the Australian management is backing Labuschagne in ODIs, and if that's the case, he will be slotted at number four, where he batted in the home ODI series against England.
Lower Middle Order: Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green
Glenn Maxwell will make his comeback [Source: Twitter]
If Glenn Maxwell is fully fit and available, we don't see Australia benching him for the first ODI in Mumbai.
Yes, they have two quality alternatives for Cameron Green in Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis; but they might prefer Green over the experienced duo, considering his utility with the ball. Also, Green has enjoyed stellar success at number seven in his brief ODI career so far.
Bowlers: Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis
Mitchell Starc will lead the Australian bowling attack [Source: Twitter]
Despite having Sean Abbott in the squad, Australia will likely go with Ashton Agar to exploit the spin-friendly conditions. Also, the Indian batters' recently-emerged vulnerability against left-arm spinners makes Agar a major candidate to play the series.
Meanwhile, in the absence of Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, ace seamer Mitchell Starc will spearhead the pace attack alongside Nathan Ellis, with Adam Zampa playing the lead spinner's role.
Australia's probable XI for 1st ODI against India:
David Warner, Travis Head, Steve Smith (C), Marnus Labuschagne, Alex Carey (WK), Glenn Maxwell (If not fit then Mitch Marsh or Marcus Stoinis will play), Cameron Green, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Nathan Ellis