Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Series win closes rotating door for World Cup

Australia's cricketer Usman Khawaja celebrates after achieving his century during the fifth one-day international cricket match between India and Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi Usman Khawaja scored 383 runs in the ODI series against India including two centuries. AFP
Sidney Guerrero | 17 March, 2019, 08:22

Since Australia's previous one-day series victory, against Pakistan in January 2017, the team has been in a state of flux.

The series saw six centuries with Usman Khawaja and Virat Kohli slamming two apiece.

Ponting though, has backed Finch to emerge from the extended slump in time for the upcoming World Cup, throwing his support behind the embattled captain.

While not trying to use it as an excuse, Kohli stated that India had tinkered greatly with the playing XI in the final three ODIs to give fringe players an opportunity before the World Cup. While players of other countries have confirmed they will leave the tournament early to prepare for the World Cup, the Indian players do not enjoy the same luxury due to obvious reasons. With this in mind it is nearly clear who the 15 will be though one or two players will be unlucky to miss the flight to London. It showed how toothless the Indian bowlers were. This is what Kohli said at the press conference at the end of the series and it is hard not to agree with this view.

"Aaron Finch remains under pressure but he's doing such a attractive job as captain uniting a team of so many fractured parts, that it would be folly to get rid of him at this stage", Craddock told Fox Sports News.

From the Aussie viewpoint however the series victory was something the team members will remember for long.

FP93 opt

After the highs of winning their first ever Test series in Australia, sharing the spoils in the T20s preceding the Tests and winning the ODI series thereafter, winning the subsequent ODI series in New Zealand, India returned home to take on Australia in a series of two T20Is and five ODI games.

Those little minutes in the diversion, to simply give them a chance to float away and India win the series. This once again symbolized the fighting spirit of the visitors.

What would have pleased everyone associated with Australian cricket was the fact that it was achieved by a team not at full strength. There was Usman Khawaja at the top of the order, he was outstanding. They also showed remarkable temperament in that they were not overshadowed by the big names arrayed against them. With the 383 runs scored in the five matches he now has 966 runs with two hundreds, his average has leapt to 42 and his strike rate then just over 70 is now 83.

"He's been Australia's best performed one-day batsman in the last couple of seasons".

Kohli himself flirted with the position in Mohali where he managed seven - his lowest of the series - and will return to his usual number three where he has been most effective. It is all about playing above one's potential and no one symbolized this more than Khawaja.

"He'd rather be going through that now than going through that at the start of the World Cup and having your captain completely out of form going through an entire World Cup".

Man City set to be handed signings ban
Real were able to get their ban reduced on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, an avenue Chelsea will also explore.

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