Australia in India: Teeing off with T20

Oct 10 2013, 11:27 IST
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Shikhar Dhawan goes airborne during a practice session on Wednesday, ahead of the one-off T20I against Australia in Rajkot (PTI) Shikhar Dhawan goes airborne during a practice session on Wednesday, ahead of the one-off T20I against Australia in Rajkot (PTI)
SummaryOne-off game at Rajkot will precede the seven-match ODI series against Australia.

A heavy downpour had curtailed the Indian team’s optional training session on Tuesday evening at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium. The lack of sunshine on Wednesday morning meant the practice wickets remained damp and did not present ideal circumstances for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men training together after an international break that has lasted over two months.

Dhoni didn’t really fret over the nature of the wicket though. For those in the current squad which will play Australia starting with the Rajkot T20 on Thursday and followed by seven ODIs, have been a side not just accustomed to winning — India won the ODI series against England at home, the Champions Trophy in England, the triseries in West Indies and the ODI series against Zimbabwe this year — but also doing it in a variety of conditions all over the world. With a line up that boasts the likes of proven match winners, especially in the limited overs format, like Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and the captain himself, getting into a match situation without practice should not worry Dhoni a lot. Add to the lot the likes of the fit again Yuvraj Singh who is attempting to make another ODI comeback, and the skipper, leading the No. 1 side in the world, was unsurprisingly in a relaxed mood during the interaction with the press.

“There are so many new movies that have been released. Please don’t presume that we are always talking cricket. We were doing some catching up as some of us are playing together after two and a half months,” Dhoni said in a lighter vein when asked about what players focussed on during training on the eve of the match against Australia.

A high-scoring tradition

The T20 International will be the first of its kind to be played at Rajkot, a venue that has produced high-scoring games, irrespective of the stadium. The inaugural international game played at Saurashtra Cricket Association’s new venue in January this year, a ODI against England, saw 641 runs scored in all. England made 325 and India fell short by just nine runs.

During the Challenger Trophy in September last year, a dry run before the stadium’s wicket was deemed fit to host ODIs, the 300-run mark was breached by teams on five occasions. Ravindra Jadeja made the first of his two triple centuries at this stadium during last year’s Ranji Trophy.

Rasik Makwana,

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