India vs Australia ODI series, Mitchell Marsh World Cup dilemma, David Warner dropped down the order, Talking Points, cricket news 2023
Australia toppled India, defeating the cricketing powerhouse 2-1 in this week’s bilateral one-day series in the subcontinent with several of their biggest names unavailable.
Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa were superb with the ball, while Mitchell Marsh was a revelation at the top of the order, all but securing his place in the World Cup squad.
Meanwhile, India will look to rebuild after suffering its first one-day series defeat on home soil in four years.
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Zampa claims FOUR in EDI magic | 00:59
‘DOESN’T HAPPEN EVERY DAY’: AUSSIES STORY WORLD CUP PREPARATION
Australia’s World Cup preparations are off to a flying start, with the team now celebrating four consecutive series wins.
After defeating Zimbabwe, New Zealand and an undermanned England side during the recent home summer, the Aussies defied the odds to topple India in its own backyard with a 2-1 series win this week.
Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Jhye Richardson were all unavailable due to injuries and family reasons, while one-day superstars David Warner and Glenn Maxwell spent most of the series on the sidelines.
And even though the ever-reliable Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne didn’t contribute much with the bat, Australia still managed to overtake India as the world’s No. 1 ODI team in the ICC rankings.
“In World Cup years it can be very easy to look too far ahead, but we really wanted to be focused on this series, and our focus was on winning games for Australia,” Marsh said in the post-match press conference after the Chennai -victory said.
“To get the no. 1 team in the world in their backyard. This is a great achievement. It doesn’t happen every day.
“Very proud of the guys. This is the first step towards our World Cup.”
The Australian one-day team’s recent success has been reassuring, but they will not gather until August for a five-match one-day series in South Africa, after which they will have to name their World Cup squad.
It remains to be seen whether Australia’s momentum will continue through the winter, but the team’s white-ball stalwarts have proven they can quickly turn their fortunes around ahead of ICC tournaments. Two years ago, Australia won a maiden T20 World Cup title despite less than ideal preparation and worrying form.
The Australian One Day Squad. Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
MARSH’S FRUSTRATING WORLD CUP DILEMMA
Elevating Mitchell Marsh to No.3 in Australia’s T20 team two years ago was a masterstroke – he smashed 77 not out in the 2021 T20 World Cup final against New Zealand to help the Aussies to their first title to clinch, earning Player of the Match honours.
The West Australian almost won that year’s Allan Border Medal purely on the strength of his stunning T20 exploits at no. 3.
The national selectors have given Marsh another 24-month promotion and asked him to open the batting against India this week in the absence of the injured David Warner.
And once again it was a master stick.
Marsh top-scored for Australia in all three ODIs, named Player of the Series after plundering 194 runs at 97.00 with 12 sixes.
The powerful right-hander’s 81 (65) during the series opener in Wankhede was probably the highlight – none of his teammates scored more than 26 on a seam wicket that undeniably favored the bowlers.
He then hit 66 not out from 36 balls in a low-scoring match in Visakhapatnam, combining with Travis Head for an unbeaten 121-run opening stand to chase down India’s paltry target in just 11 overs.
“To be honest, it’s quite exciting to have 10 overs with only two (fielders) out,” Marsh said after the second ODI.
“I just have to calm myself down and get to the end of the Powerplay.”
Over the weekend, India captain Rohit Sharma described Marsh as one of the best power hitters in the game.
“Definitely in the top three, top four when it comes to power,” Sharma said.
“You saw, he could just stand and deliver and play the shots. He supports himself to do it.”
Marsh has not opened the batting in his 147 previous matches for Australia, but his brute power will be vital ahead of this year’s World Cup – the only lingering question is where he fits in best in Australia’s starting line-up.
Keeping him at the top of the order would be tempting, but that would require one of either Head or David Warner to make way.
Both have been in excellent form in the 50-over format – Warner is the team’s reigning ODI Player of the Year and leading run-getter in 2022 with 552 runs at 42.46.
Meanwhile, Head has plundered 329 runs at 65.80 at a strike rate of 115.03 since replacing former Australian captain Aaron Finch in the ODI team.
Another option is to put Marsh at number 3, which has been Steve Smith’s preferred position over the last few years – the solution is not immediately clear.
“We talked about, before the first game, it’s really the start of our campaign for the World Cup and different guys will be batting in different positions at times,” Marsh said.
“It is very important that we have a team mentality. Davey has been an incredible player for Australia for a long time…I’m sure he’ll slot back in at some point. It is very important that we are all flexible.
“I think in World Cup years it can be very easy to look too far ahead. But we really wanted to be focused on this series, and it’s a big achievement to beat the No.1 team in their own backyard.
“It’s not every day that you win here so very proud of the guys. This is the first step towards our World Cup.”
Mitchell Marsh was named Player of the Series. Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
AUSSIES’ ALL-ROUNDER PLENTY
How many all-rounders is too many?
Packing the middle order with all-rounders has worked wonders for England over the past few years – they sometimes have decent batsmen up to number 10 in their white-ball sides – but fine-tuning the squad balance for Australia’s ODI side has been a challenge. , and the triumph over India created more questions than answers.
Ashton Agar, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Cameron Green have all proven themselves in the 50-over format, but can they all fit into the same starting line-up at this year’s World Cup in India?
Of that quintet, Maxwell and Marsh are the only certainties – whether Agar features in the World Cup depends largely on conditions, as Maxwell is more than capable of serving as the second spinner if needed.
Agar’s ODI record also leaves a lot to be desired – he averages 45.90 with the ball in the 50-over format, and never takes more than two wickets in an innings.
Meanwhile, during the series opener in Wankhede, Stoinis proved he knows how to bowl with two wickets in Indian conditions, after taking the new ball for the first time in his ODI career.
But the West Australian’s batting form is cause for concern – he has averaged 16.09 since the start of the 2019 World Cup in England, with no fifties in 27 matches.
Then there is Cameron Green, the $3.15 million prodigy who currently averages 50.33 with the bat and 34.30 in his short ODI career.
The raw talent is undeniable, but the 23-year-old lacks experience – seemingly in a two-horse race with Stoinis for the no. 7 spot in Australia’s preferred starting team.
With Sean Abbott also making his case for a plane ticket to India, national selectors have a lot to think about over the coming six months.
Marcus Stoinis from Australia. Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
INDIA Vulnerable AFTER FOUR YEAR FIRST
The last three men’s World Cups have been won by the host nation, and India have been tipped as favorites to continue that trend in 2023 – or so we thought.
India, the powerhouse of international white-ball cricket, have an unblemished ODI record on home soil, winning 36 of their 53 matches since the start of 2016.
But the Indians have now suffered their first one-day series defeat at home in four years, losing their No. 1 ICC ranking in the process.
India were far from their best against Australia this week, especially with the bat. Only one player averaged above 40, namely KL Rahul, while only two bowlers conceded less than six runs per over over the low-scoring series.
The second ODI in Visakhapatnam was frankly embarrassing. India suffered its heaviest defeat in history when Australia chased down the paltry target in just 11 overs with ten wickets in hand.
Even during the run chase of their solitary win of the series, India lost 4-34 in a drastic collapse of the top order before Rahul and Ravindra Jadeja came to the rescue.
With England going from strength to strength in the ODI formats, pundits will question whether India are still favorites to lift the World Cup later this year.
“All of us tried our best to go out and achieve it but it just didn’t happen,” India captain Rohit Sharma said after the third ODI.
“Obviously a loss like this really hurts. But we can understand again what we need to do better as a team, as a group.”
However, India are eagerly waiting for several of their high-profile names to recover from injuries ahead of the World Cup, with paceman Jasprit Bumrah, batsman Shreyas Iyer and wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant expected to return in the coming months.
Virat Kohli of India. Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
‘FAKE NEWS’: WARNER INSTA POST RAISES EYEBROWS
Australia has warned that it will experiment with its line-up ahead of the India ODI series, but dropping David Warner down the order has certainly raised a few eyebrows.
The veteran opener was sidelined for the series opener in Wankhede due to the lingering elbow injury he sustained during the Test series, with Mitchell Marsh opening the batting in his absence.
Ahead of the second ODI, news emerged that Warner would also miss the Visakhapatnam contest due to a corked quad, but the 36-year-old denied the reports on social media, which appeared to suggest he was fit to play the second ODI to play.
“#FakeNews … #Incorrect,” he posted on Instagram along with a screenshot of the headline.
Warner made his long-awaited return for Wednesday night’s series decider in Chennai, but to the surprise of many, he was at No.4 in the batting order. Only once in his 14-year ODI career has Warner previously not opened the batting and been included in the middle order for the 2015 World Cup group stage match against Scotland.
Marsh, who opened the batting in all three ODIs against India, top-scored for Australia in the series finale with a gutsy 47, which was later named Player of the Series. Meanwhile, Warner scored a sluggish 23 before crashing a high drive against Indian spinner Kuldeep Yadav and throwing away his wicket in the 25th over when Australia desperately needed a partnership.
One of the most successful ODIs of all time, Warner boasts an impeccable record in India, averaging 51.75 in the Asian country with two centuries in nine innings.
The reigning ODI player of the year will be crucial to Australia’s success in the upcoming World Cup, but whether national selectors want to reinvent him as a middle-order aggressor remains up in the air.
David Warner from Australia. Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images