Five questions for Australia's ODI team | cricket.com.au

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Five questions for Australia's ODI team

The make-up of Australia's bowling attack and the identity of their No.4 batsmen will be revealed this week

Australia will take a step closer to finalising their best XI for their five-match ODI series against India when they play a tour match in Chennai on Tuesday.

The 50-over practice match against a Board President's XI is a chance for all members of the 14-man squad (minus the injured Aaron Finch and possibly Hilton Cartwright, who is battling illness) to put their hand up for selection in the series opener on Sunday.

There are several key omissions from Australia's last ODI campaign in the UK in June; Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Chris Lynn are all out injured while Moises Henriques and John Hastings (who is also on the comeback from injury) have been overlooked.

So with positions up for grabs, we take a look at five big questions that will be answered over the next few weeks.

Super Stoinis sets new all-round benchmark

Who will bat at No.4?

Australia have used six different players at second drop in 10 matches this year, the gap in the middle order coming after veteran George Bailey was dropped in January. The man who filled the No.4 spot in June's ICC Champions Trophy, NSW skipper Moises Henriques, has been overlooked for this tour while uncapped WA allrounder Hilton Cartwright has earned a call-up. Cartwright opened the batting in 50-over cricket at domestic level last summer so it could be left to impressive youngster Travis Head, who has found a home at No.5, to make a move up the order. Victorian allrounder Marcus Stoinis, who made a memorable century against New Zealand in February batting at No.7, could also be in line for a recall to the middle order.

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How will the Aussies handle their fast bowlers?

With Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson back in Australia nursing minor injuries ahead of the Ashes this summer, Australia will turn to star quick Pat Cummins to lead the fast-bowling attack in India. But with the Ashes looming, the Aussies will be wary of running their young paceman into the ground ahead of the Test summer. The right-armer bowled brilliantly in unhelpful and oppressive conditions in Bangladesh and will likely be rested at times during the series, meaning returning quicks Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Faulkner and Kane Richardson will all be tasked with taking on India's star-studded top order. With two frontline spinners in the squad, Adam Zampa and Ashton Agar, and medium-pace allrounders Stoinis and Cartwright a chance to feature in the middle order, the Aussies could even name just two frontline quicks in their XI if they're confronted with spinning conditions.

Ashton Agar will look to make an impact // Getty
Ashton Agar will look to make an impact // Getty

Can Ashton Agar continue his rise?

After showing some positive signs with bat and ball on his return to the Test side in Bangladesh, Ashton Agar will look to take another step forward on what is just his second ODI tour with the Australian side. The allrounder played his only two previous one-dayers in England two years ago and will be hoping to secure his spot as Australia's No.2 spin option behind leg-spinner Adam Zampa. Exactly where Agar fits into this Australian side is a point of conjecture; the left-hander batted as high as No.5 in one-day cricket for Western Australia last summer and captain Steve Smith has backed him to eventually bat in the top six in Test cricket. His clever left-arm spin, powerful stroke-making and athletic fielding make him an exciting inclusion for Smith and stand-in coach David Saker in this series.

James Faulkner is back // Getty
James Faulkner is back // Getty

How will James Faulkner respond to his axing?

After a shock axing for the Champions Trophy, James Faulkner will be looking to re-establish himself as a key member of Australia's ODI XI. A vastly experienced campaigner in India, where he's played seven seasons for four different teams in the IPL, Faulkner was a star performer on Australia's last ODI tour here four years ago. The Tasmanian hammered 230 runs from just four innings in 2013, including a record-breaking century from just 57 balls, helping him to develop a reputation as The Finisher with the bat to go with his key overs during the middle of the innings and at the death. Now that he's back in favour and in familiar conditions that are expected to suit his bowling, he has a perfect chance to once again secure his spot.

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How many allrounders is too many?

Australia have selected no less than six allrounders - Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Hilton Cartwright, Ashton Agar, James Faulkner - in their squad and there's intrigue to see how many they can fit into the same XI. Head and Maxwell are settled in the middle order and while the latter has bowled just three overs in 10 ODIs this year, the local conditions should suit their off-spin bowling. Stoinis and Faulkner will no doubt draw on their IPL experience if given the chance while WA duo Cartwright and Agar are looking to establish themselves in the side less than two years out from Australia's World Cup defence in the UK.

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia ODI squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa.

Australia T20 squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Patrick Cummins, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad (first three ODIs): Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami.

ODI Fixtures


September 17: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

September 21: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

September 24: Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore

September 28: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru

October 1: VCA Stadium, Nagpur


T20 Fixtures


October 1: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad