The last game India played in Sydney, they chased down 330. For many batsmen, the Sydney Cricket Ground is their favourite hunting ground outside their home turf.
The surface is a dream for stroke players with no movement and true bounce. For someone looking to regain confidence, this could be the ideal platform.
Yuvraj Singh has done reasonably well in the limited role he has been asked to perform so far. He knows it is his batting form which will count. The value of Yuvraj, at the top of his game, is not lost on the team management. He can be the X-factor for he has the knack to turn games around.
In both the World Cups India won under MS Dhoni, Yuvraj played the lead role. In the inaugural World T20 in 2007, he set the tempo in the league stages. At the 2011 ICC World Cup, he was the star of the show.
Of all the additions to the team and players making a comeback, the focus will be on the Punjab batsman. With the series sealed, the third T20 provides the team an opportunity to help him get into rhythm. Without tampering with the top order, Dhoni can try him out in the middle order.
It also makes a case for Harbhajan Singh to play. The India captain has said he won’t be experimenting at the cost of the best team combination, but the larger goal of the tour is to prepare for the World T20.
Whoever he fields, Dhoni will again try to restrict Australia with his spin attack. The India captain has shown how effective he is when his slow bowlers are on. Knowing exactly what to expect from them at the MCG, despite the pacers going for runs, Dhoni didn’t bring on the spinners till the end of the Power-play overs.
There have been many changes to the Australia team, and without Steve Smith, David Warner, John Hastings, Kane Richardson, Matthew Wade and the injured Aaron Finch, it’s almost a second-string side on Sunday.
However, two names stand out. Shane Watson will be leading the side in the absence of Finch and Usman Khawaja will finally make a much-awaited appearance. It’s been a golden summer for Khawaja, and after his Big Bash success all eyes will be on the left-hand opener on his home ground. He has evoked interest from Indian Premier League teams and with the auction next week, the game comes at the right point.
Most of all, the man who would like to leave an imprint on this game would be Dhoni himself. With no limited-overs series scheduled for India here in the next couple of years, it might well be the iconic cricketer’s final game Down Under.
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