Here are the Indian players who can actually take advantage of the drop in pitches, renewed balls, grassy tops, and odd ground sizes in Australia.
The concept of giving everyone a "fair go" resides at the heart of Australian culture. It makes them the opposite of what their ruling monarch was in the past. This is significantly reflected in how T20 cricket is played in the country; which is also how this World Cup will be won equally on the back of picking wickets rather than scoring big runs.
Mohammad Shami, after his electrifying show in the first warm-up game, is now the undisputed leader of India's bowling attack.
Although he didn't bowl at the start, he definitely will, because more wickets are possible to fall in the powerplay in this tournament. This coincides with a massive change in the manufacturing of the white leather balls. That seems to have reinforced the seam, and thus the ball deviates further after hitting the deck.
In this format where one of the lowest percentages of boundaries hit in Australia also includes one of the lowest proportions of sixes when compared to the rest of the world, running between the wickets is of incredible significance. Ones, twos, and even threes are most likely to come into play, as we have seen in the qualifying and the warm-up games so far.
No two ground sizes in Australia are identical. Some have shorter, straighter ropes with giant square and corner pockets in which if you time the ball, an easy two is guaranteed.
For example, the straighter hit at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is much shorter than at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). While you can hit through the line in Perth, you are better off using the pace in Brisbane. India will be playing on these four grounds, and hence a specific set of skills are necessary to succeed in those conditions.
Team India will face Pakistan in their World Cup opener, which is believed to be heavily affected by the rains. They will then take on the Netherlands. Because of the collosal square boundaries, bowlers usually opt for a lot of changeups on this ground. One would like to believe that Harshal Patel might come in handy with the plethora of slower ones that he's got.
Virat Kohli will perhaps enjoy his batting the most here, considering it suits his style of play where he can knock the ball into these giant pockets square on both the sides and accumulate the runs.
These antics will change drastically when India travels to Sydney, which is considered a new ball surface. There is always enough juice on the pitch at the start of the game that poses a definite challenge for the opening batters. However, someone with a defensive game, such as KL Rahul, has the opportunity to get through the initial phase and then pile on the misery on the opposition by hitting to his preferred areas, which happen to be the shortest boundaries that go over extra cover and over mid-wicket.
Rohit Sharma's preferred XI might never feature all three of his spinning options. But there is a case for Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal to play when India faces Bangladesh at the Adelaide Oval. All of them have become proficient by bowling straight at the stumps, and because Adelaide has humongous straight boundaries, all of them could be effective. This is also a surface where a high percentage of bowled and LBWs are accounted for because spinners tend to bowl with the stumps.
When India faces South Africa in Perth, their batters will have their toughest test against pace and bounce on this whole trip. They are expected to use this pace to their advantage and try to score more towards the 'V' that is behind them and not necessarily in front. Suryakumar Yadav is in fine form and he should relish this set-up. This could also be Rohit's most preferred track to go big.
Hardik Pandya has shown in the recent past that he is capable of picking up wickets from the full length and that will be key on these pitches where there appears to be a green coating on top. If he can perfectly play the role of the third seamer, it will allow India to bring in an additional batter, seamer, or spinner depending on the match-up on that given day.
If it was the Indian bowling that was the weaker link, then they are blessed with cricketing conditions that will boost their bowlers, and now it is up to their strength, their batters, to out bat the teams if they want to win this World Cup.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)
More From The Author | Mission T20I World Cup: Is the left still India's weaker hand?