Reach­ing into un­known

Sunday Herald Sun - - Cricket -


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.”

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