Reaching into unknown
AUSTRALIA has enlisted the help of a little-known Indian spinner to try to combat the threat of Kuldeep Yadav in the first one-day international clash in Chennai tonight.
The visitors have turned to KK Jiyas, 25, a left-arm wrist spinner who was contracted to Indian Premier League team Delhi Daredevils in 2015 but never played a match.
On the advice of team con- sultant Sridharan Sriram, the Australians have been facing Jiyas in the nets in the lead-up to the first of five matches against the hosts.
Yadav, 22, caused the Aussies headaches earlier in the year, taking 4-68 on debut in the fourth Test in Dharamsala.
Skipper Steve Smith said the plan would be to get after Yadav early in his spell to put pressure on him.
“He can be difficult to pick at times,” he said.
Smith is remaining tightlipped about selection, insisting a final assessment would be made on match day.
“We’ve got a few different options and we’ll go with whatever we think is best for each of the conditions,” he said.
Both teams have lost a damaging opening batsman, with Aaron Finch withdrawing with a calf injury and Indian star Shikhar Dhawan granted leave to be with his sick wife.
Allrounder Hilton Cartwright could open for Australia, with Travis Head expected to bat No.4.
Ajinkya Rahane is likely to replace Dhawan at the top of the order for the hosts.
The decision for Australian selectors is whether to opt for spin or pace in the allrounders.
Ashton Agar took 4-44 in a warm-up match against the Indian Board President’s XI.
James Faulkner would bolster Australia’s seam stocks with his ability to take the pace off the ball in the middle overs.
“It’s difficult to say how it’s going to play at the moment,” Smith said of the pitch.
“It’s probably still a little bit soft (but) I’d say it will harden up pretty quick.”
While bat dominated ball in the last India v Australia ODI series on the subcontinent in 2013, Smith isn’t about declare a repeat.
“It was a runfest (last time) — 350 was around par I think,” he said.
“If the wickets are the same then you need someone to go on and make a really big score.”