Pune takes centre stage for the first of seven one-day internationals, and that brings three players from the two teams into greater focus. Yuvraj Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Aaron Finch are teammates in the IPL with the Pune Warriors.
But camaraderie will be put to one side as the Indian pair aim to outdo their Aussie rival and vice versa. On a similar note, only a few days from helping Mumbai Indians win their second Champions League crown, Rohit Sharma and the Aussie trio of Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Coulter-Nile went from teammates to opponents.
This is modern day cricket, and where it particularly can make a positive difference is in how one might react to certain kinds of situations during a game. During a heated moment, a player is likely to react differently to before, as now he also knows the opponent as a person while earlier he knew him only as a player. This is the positive influence that a tournament like the IPL has had on the sport.
Coming back to today’s match, the conditions will be best known to the Pune Warriors trio, and it will be gripping to see who exploits this advantage the best. Past surfaces in Pune have usually been low and slow, so hopefully on this occasion we’ll get a good surface.
It’s obviously important to start any series well which helps build momentum. But this is a long series that’s been nicely spaced out, so there’s certainly enough opportunity for whoever slips up today to recover.
Yuvraj’s scintillating knock in Rajkot sent out a very encouraging sign for India. Though there might still have been some butterflies in the stomach, he was focused and batted brilliantly. I’d like to see him continue looking to hit straight as he did the other night. That’s when he’s at his most dangerous.
This series has attracted plenty of criticism, especially back in Australia due to it being held so close to the Ashes. The way I see it, it shouldn’t always be about the format. Touring India, as we know, is not easy, and it measures a player’s character and ability to handle pressure and come out of tough situations.
Those qualities are useful in any type of cricket, and should Australia come up trumps, the players will only return home a stronger unit.
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