India host a somewhat novice Australian selection in a one-off Twenty20 match at Rajkot on Thursday October 10.
Coverage of the game will begin at 14:30 (BST) on Sky Sports 2 with the action getting underway at 15:00 (BST).
Scheduled in advance of the upcoming seven-match One-Day International series between the two nations, both India and Australia will be hoping to generate momentum and claim some early bragging rights against their opponents.
All the key information is broken down below, including the all-important date, start time and TV schedule for the match as well as expected conditions, squad lists, previews, predictions and more.
Venue: Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot
Date: Thursday October 10th 2013
Start time: 15:00 BST
Live on: Sky Sports 2, 14:30-18:30 BST
Australia Team News
|Shikhar Dhawan||Aaron Finch|
|Rohit Sharma||Shane Watson|
|Virat Kohli||Glenn Maxwell|
|Suresh Raina||George Bailey (captain)|
|Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicket keeper)||Brad Haddin (wicket keeper)|
|Yuvraj Singh||James Faulkner|
|Ravindra Jadeja||Moises Henriques|
|Ravichandran Ashwin||Adam Voges|
|Ishant Sharma||Mitchell Johnson|
|Bhuvneshwar Kumar||Xavier Doherty|
|Amit Mishra||Clint McKay|
The make-up of George Bailey's tourists may look rather inexperienced on the whole when it comes to international class cricket, but the presence of individuals such as Aaron Finch, the current world-record holder for the fastest T20 century, means that Australia should still be able to pack a punch.
Coming off the back of a gruelling tour of the UK which saw them take in three months of action across all three forms of the game, there will be plenty of opportunities for fresh faces to make an impression in the famous green and gold.
Left-handed Phillip Hughes, who is yet to play in a T20 International, and 21-year-old South Wales opener Nic Maddinson could be important reinforcements for Bailey's well-travelled campaigners.
Australia's skipper spoke to the press about the novices coming into the squad to face India, via NDTV Sports:
What we have lost is a lot of experience. We are trying to rebuild that. Guys are getting used to being in this side, being used to the scrutiny and pressure of international cricket. And to the different roles within the Australian side that they are playing. The fighting spirit is still there it is just a matter of getting it out there consistently. That is what you want from your side to play really good cricket consistently.
The hungry enthusiasm of youth may be enough to overcome their hosts who boast a full-strength squad and plenty of danger at the crease through their top-ranked ODI bowlers. With so many of Australia's men having played in the Indian Premier League they will at least be well aware of how to approach playing in the spin-friendly conditions they are set to face.
Major contributions will be required from the side's remaining veterans such as Shane Watson and Brad Haddin in order for the tourists to have any chance of tasting victory here.
India Team News
The headline news going into this one-off Twenty20 showdown is the recall of Yuvraj Singh to the Indian squad after overcoming a rare form of germ cell cancer last year.
Although Singh made his return to the international in September 2012 in a T20 match against New Zealand, the cricket press have begun hailing the former Pune Warriors India all-rounder as the comeback man.
However, his captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has been quick to highlight the potential pressure brought about by all the added attention telling the media, as per NDTV Sports:
I think there is a kind of pressure on the player. It doesn't matter if you are one of the biggest match-winners. It is very important to take that feeling away from the individual that he is making his comeback. Because what's important is for the individual to be expressive on field, back himself, have belief in his talent, the kind of talent that he has got. Ultimately that will show on the field.
We will try to keep it as normal as possible and try to take the undue pressure off him and hopefully that will work. Yuvraj, of course is a match winner and we all know that. He is a big player and has been proving himself whenever questions have been raised. The fact is that he is a big match player. He performs well in big matches. He does well in tough series. We are hoping that he will come back strong.
Yet his re-selection to the T20 ranks has come through the player's own impressive form for India A against The West Indies A and for India Blue in the Challenger Series rather than sentimentality over his past poor health. If Singh is able to put in another strong showing against Australia, the all-rounder could well prove to be India's match-winner.
Meanwhile, Dhoni himself will be making a less dramatic comeback of his own after the Indian skipper's two-month break from international cricket, while Ravindra Jadeja will look to put his poor performance in the CLT20 with his first home international T20 match.
Somehow this will be India's first T20 international of 2013, with their last two encounters both ending 1-1 against England and Pakistan in December of last year.
Considering that practically all their selected players have been heavily involved in the Indian Premier League and ICC Champions League however, rustiness should not be a problem for the side currently ranked third in the world in the ICC's T20 standings.
Rajkot boasts one of the flattest playing surfaces on the international cricket circuit, setting the scene for a potentially high-scoring classic featuring plenty of runs.
Considering the strength of India's lineup and the relative inexperience of Australia's, along with the venue which is ideally suited to allow the host's spin bowlers to work their magic, it's difficult to look beyond a decisive victory for Dhoni's men going into their seven-match ODI series.
However, with rain hitting the intensely humid Southern Indian city and even threatening to halt proceedings, Australia's grit could yet seen them through if conditions deteriorate.
That is if the playing surface is affected by the downpour. According to CNN-IBN, officials for the Saurashtra Cricket Association have stated that Rajkot's drainage facilities will ensure that the green will remain immaculate regardless.
CNN-IBM also spoke to pitch curator Rasik Makwana, who underlined the potential of the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium's pitch stating that, "this is a batting paradise, and even 200-plus runs would not be easy to defend."
Australia will need to raise their game rain or shine to come away with anything against India in their one-off T20 matchup.