Below are five players that should be closely watched in India’s upcoming ODI and T20 series against Australia
The Indian captain for both the One-Day and T20 squads, MS Dhoni has dazzled crowds since his arrival on the international scene over a decade ago.
Since that time, Dhoni has led India to the top in all three forms of the game; a match-winning 91 not out in the 2011 World Cup Final in his native country is arguably the highlight of an illustrious career.
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Known across the cricket fraternity for his ability to stay calm in the tensest situations, fans across Australia should expect to witness a blend of powerful hitting and crafty stroke play.
A memorable highlight on Australian shores was his last over fireworks in an ODI at Adelaide in 2012. Needing 12 runs in the last over, Dhoni exploded, guiding his team home with two balls to spare; his efforts included an 112m six - the lone boundary in an innings of 44 not out.
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In addition, to his spectacular ability to finish close matches, his tactical nous and sharp work with the gloves ensures Dhoni is the key to Indian success and one that all fans should watch closely in the matches to come.
In similar fashion to his aforementioned skipper, Virat Kohli is idolised across India and by cricket lovers worldwide.
Kohli has already started the tour with a bang, scoring 74 in a T20 against a Western Australian XI at the WACA. Part of both the one-day and T20 squads, Kohli will be looking to continue his good form in Australia.
He registered four hundreds when India succumbed to a 2-0 loss in the Border-Gavaskar trophy last summer, and averaged 44.60 at all of the matches played in Australia during the 2015 World Cup.
With remarkable averages of 50.60 and 44.17 in the ODI and T20 forms of the game respectably, Kohli is currently one of the world’s most proficient batsman. With a combination of elegant wrist work, silky feet movement and sweet timing, India’s rock in the middle order has constantly featured among the top echelon of batsman over the past five years.
It is not just Kohli’s ability with bat in hand that should be admired – his immense hunger and desire for victory continually allows fans to enjoy an attacking brand of cricket when he has the chance to take control and lead his team. This combination of passion, tactical brilliance and stylish stroke-play make Kohli a must watch for all fans this summer.
One of the most talked about figures in the cricket world, Harbhajan Singh returns to Australian shores for the first time India’s controversial tour in 2007/08.
After spending three years out of the international limited overs scene, Harbhajan returned to the fold in India’s tour of Zimbabwe last July, where he took six wickets across the five international matches played. Harbhajan is only part of the T20 squad on this tour, but will no doubt still be a major drawcard for fans across the nation.
Behind the fierce on-field dialogue and drama that has followed him across the years, Harbhajan possess a bowling ability that has led him to become one of India’s finest spin bowlers. With over 700 international wickets, it has been Singh’s ability to spin the ball both ways and create unplayable bounce that has seen him trouble the best of batsman across the world.
His remarkable record includes the rare feat of claiming Ricky Ponting’s wicket 10 times in test cricket – an achievement that in itself that has demanded respect from all Australian fans.
His in-your-face style of play, intense enthusiasm and unique talents with the ball will lead to a large set of followers throughout his time in Australia.
One of the game’s most exciting short-form players, Glenn Maxwell brings an all-round ability that makes him an envious figure for all fans and observers across the world.
With a unique blend of acrobatic fielding, penetrating off-spin bowling and a range of strokes that few others attain, Maxwell has become one of cricket’s most devastating limited overs players. His services have been so sought after that Mumbai purchased him for USD one million in the 2013 IPL auction, making him the most expensive player that season.
Inconsistency has always been an issue for ‘The Big Show’, however, his elevation into tenth in ICC official rankings has suggested his best days are still ahead of him.
Maxwell comes into the series on the back of a man of the match display for Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash, which included a match winning 56 not out. Fans across the nation will be hoping Maxwell becomes Australia’s go-to man, particularly as he is the only recognised spin bowler named in the squad for the first three ODIs.
If Maxwell is able to regularly produce the fireworks which has seen him become one of the world’s most versatile players, fans will be in for a treat this summer.
One of Australia’s most explosive short-form batsman, Aaron Finch comes into the series on the back some blistering form for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash. With 246 runs at a tick under 50, Finch is in the sort of form that can potentially blow India away before the game has hardly begun.
One of the nation’s purest strikers of the ball, Finch is currently the world’s best T20 batsman and will no doubt feature prominently throughout the two upcoming series.
Along with a range of shots straight out of the coaching manual, Finch’s ability to field in the slips and bowl left-arm orthodox spin has seen him maintain a versatile and valued role within Australia’s limited-overs set-up.
With the capacity to regularly clear the boundary, Finch is one of the country’s most easy-on-the-eye players and a joy to watch for all fans across the nation.
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