India name important ins for ODI series against Australia
India has received a welcome boost ahead of their five game ODI series against Australia, with a number of important names being recalled to the squad. Chief among them is Virat Kohli, who missed the last two ODI's and the three T20I's his side played against New Zealand in late January and early February.
Kohli provides a major boost to the home side, who defeated Australia on Australian soil in an ODI series just a month ago. In that series – as has become customary – he played a major role, scoring a century in the second match and an important 46 in the third to lead his side to a 2-1 victory. The series completed an Australian summer in which Kohli and his Indian side demolished the Australians, beating them for the first time in Australia in a Test series before completing the ODI win.
Jasprit Bumrah also played a pivotal role Down Under before being rested in New Zealand, and he too will make a return to take on the Aussies. Bumrah didn't play in the ODI series in January, but he was a hugely important figure in the Indians Test series victory. India's bowling lineup has been solid throughout their two recent series', but Bumrah, at just 25 years of age, averages 21.01 in 44 ODI's to date, and concedes just 4.44 runs per over. His ability to both take wickets and limit runs is likely to have him well and truly in selectors thoughts.
Rishabh Pant was also picked for the squad, taking the place of Dinesh Karthik, who played as a back-up wicketkeeper for MS Dhoni in New Zealand. Pant showed his undeniable talent with the bat during the Test series in Australia, where his aggression and natural ability shone through, but he is likely considered a somewhat risky pick given he has played just three ODI's so far in his career. At just 21 years old, however, and already establishing himself as a quality Test player, it's no surprise to see him being groomed to ultimately take over from Dhoni in the shorter forms of the game – particularly given his carefree approach to batting.
The final addition is returning after missing time for a different reason. KL Rahul was recently suspended by the BCCI for comments made on an Indian talk show, and returns after demonstrating promising form at the lower levels. He scored in the 80s in consecutive innings' while representing India A in a matchup against the England Lions recently, and will now have a chance to win back the faith of his teammates and fans at the international level.
Typically, if not almost exclusively, contests between India and Australia have tended to fall the way of the home side – somewhat unsurprising given the starkly different conditions played under in the two nations. Considering India were able to beat Australia away from home as recently as one month ago, then, it's no surprise that they'll head into this series as heavy favourites. They've been in fantastic form and appear to be hitting their straps at the right time with the World Cup just a couple of months away, and with these key ins, they'll be backing themselves to earn themselves another series win against Australia.