David Warner has added his name to the list of high-profile players who won't be taking part in a much-maligned T20 series against India starting this week. India have named a severely depleted squad for the five-match series starting on Friday that won't feature the likes of Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma.
The series kicks off on Friday (just five days after the World Cup final), and has been widely panned as meaningless considering how soon it comes after the ODI tournament. Warner, Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc and Mitch Marsh will all fly home to Australia rather than playing in the series, and coach Andrew McDonald is also departing India for a break.
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The sorry situation got even worse on Tuesday when India named their squad. Indian selectors named a 16-man group, but just four of them were part of the World Cup squad that lost to Australia in the final. Suryakumar Yadav will captain the side and is the only member of India's team from the World Cup final that will be available to play in Friday's series opener in Visakhapatnam.
Shreyas Iyer will only play in the final two matches, while Ishan Kishan and Prasidh Krishna are the only other members of the World Cup squad also in the T20 group. The series has drawn widespread criticism as the prime example of the overcrowded cricket calendar that is leading to player burnout.
The series is one that had to be rescheduled due to the Covid pandemic, with contractual obligations meaning it must be played rather than scrapped. It theoretically marks the beginning of preparations for next year's T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies, however India's squad only includes three players who reached last year's semi-finals of the T20 World Cup in Australia (with Hardik Pandya still injured).
Cricket world blasts meaningless T20 series
Former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote on social media last week: “It doesn’t sit right with me that the two finalists four days later will start a T20 series against each other. Why can’t we allow players the chance to have a moment’s rest after a WC or whoever wins the chance to celebrate properly for a couple of weeks.. It’s complete greed and overkill.”
Australia's squad is slightly stronger, with seven players from the World Cup squad staying on to play. Steve Smith might be given the chance to open after he was left out of the majority of last year's T20 World Cup, while Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, and Adam Zampa are all in Australia's group.
However Australia's Test stars like Smith and Head might fly home early to begin preparations for the Australian summer - which will feature three-game series against Pakistan and the West Indies. Warner was initially in the T20 squad, but was withdrawn on Tuesday. The 37-year-old is planning for the third Test against Pakistan at the SCG to be his final red-ball game for Australia.
Coach McDonald has also been given a rest for the five-game T20 series, with assistant Andre Borovec to take the reins of the national team for the first time. Matthew Wade will captain the Aussie team in the absence of Cummins and Marsh, who was promoted to skipper the T20 side during a recent series against South Africa.
Speaking after the World Cup final, Cummins highlighted how long the Aussie players have spent overseas this year after a Test series in India, Ashes series and World Test Championship final in England, followed by the World Cup. They also played T20 series in South Africa and India right before the World Cup.
"You sacrifice a lot to play for Australia and everyone in the team has and we've spent a lot of this year away but we do it for these moments," the captain said. "It's been a big year for everyone but our cricket team has been here in India, Ashes, World Test Championship and to top it off with this is just huge. These are the moments that you'll remember for the rest of your life."
Apparently there is a one-day warm-up match on Sunday now between India and Australia ahead of the five match T20 series. Random.
— Daniel Cherny (@DanielCherny) November 16, 2023
I have just discovered Australia are playing a 5 match T20 series against India AFTER the World Cup. Squished in before the Australian Test summer (Dec 14) and BBL (Dec 7) starts.
CA will literally do whatever the BCCI tells it to. pic.twitter.com/jmmDOsp8Yo
— Tom O'Neil (@thomasjameoneil) November 17, 2023
It’s quite poetic after the World Cup final yesterday. Both India and Australia will start a 5 match t20 series against each other on Thursday. Some of the Australian players would have been India since September for the ODI series before the World Cup. Mad scheduling
— Scot Munroe (@scot_munroe) November 20, 2023
Why on earth would Australia play a t20 series against India in the very next week after a world cup final. Surely Australia should send an emerging team to play this series and let the world champions return home. Pathetic money hungry scheduling though https://t.co/7VJrBEfPel
— 𝕏 ∂υℓяαи gαʝαвα (@aR1LqV8wvdh17XR) November 20, 2023
Wasai India and Australia playing a T20 series just within a few days is ridiculous. Cricket boards need to allow players to recover from world cups and not schedule any cricket at least for a few weeks after it.
— Abdul (@Cric_liebhaber) November 20, 2023
Absolutely ridiculous to schedule a T20 series a few days after a World Cup campaign. Yes they will rest the top guns but why on earth have this? What is the relevance & who on earth will want to see the B teams of Aus & India battle it out a few days after they play a WC final
— Rajit Rajaram (@rajit29) November 17, 2023
AUSTRALIA T20 SQUAD:
Matthew Wade (c), Jason Behrendorff, Sean Abbott, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Kane Richardson, Aaron Hardie, Glenn Maxwell, Tanveer Sangha, Matt Short, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa.
INDIA T20 SQUAD:
Suryakumar Yadav (c), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Jitesh Sharma, Washington Sundar, Axar Patel, Shivam Dube, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Mukesh Kumar, Shreyas Iyer (last two matches only).
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