No offence to Tilak Varma or Nathan Ellis but these India v Australia T20s are probably even less of a big deal than the last “irrelevant” post World Cup series

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Where were you when Ruturaj Gaikwad was run out by Nathan Ellis? You almost certainly have no idea because you almost certainly weren’t paying attention and quite possibly don’t even realise that it happened in an India v Australia match.

International cricket teams aren’t guitars: in an ideal world you’d never play your second string. India and Australia are currently doing a pretty good job of highlighting the fact that we do not live in an ideal world (just in case you were in any doubt about that).

> Why it is only now dawning on England fans that their team plays way too many games

There’s no need to pick on Ruturaj Gaikwad and Nathan Ellis here. Not when we could just as easily pick on Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh, Aaron Hardie or any number of others.

While these are important games for many of these players and no doubt several of the younger ones will become high profile international cricketers in due course, that’s not where we are right now. Right now this is not first team cricket. This is not India v Australia. It is “India” v “Australia”. Has anyone considered prosecuting for false advertising? We feel like the game should perhaps impose a mandatory “XI” suffix whenever a certain percentage of the first team are being rested.

If there’s one commendable element to the scheduling of this T20 series, it’s that it perhaps negated the need for a few flights. Some of the Australia squad were in India already for that World Cup win, so they may as well tick off a few other obligations while they’re already out and about.

This was pretty much exactly what Moeen Ali said when England played a similar sort of series in Australia last year, almost immediately after winning the T20 World Cup.

“Having a game in three days’ time – it’s horrible,” he said. “We have to do it, and while we’re here we might as well do it. It would be better than going back and then having to come back out another time.”

Yay! Entertainment! Top level international cricket!

Moeen wasn’t the only one who couldn’t be bothered to maintain the PR line for that particular series.

“We always saw that series as being something that we will have to be really professional about,” said coach Matthew Mott.

Speaking after the series, Jos Buttler said it had been irrelevant.

The series was broadcast by BT Sports, where pundit Steve Harmison summed it up as, “Meaningless cricket played in a meaningless way.”

Against all odds, this India v Australia T20 series may actually be even less of a big deal.

Having just won the 50-over World Cup, it’s entirely understandable that Australia might experiment/piss about by opening the batting with Steve Smith, picking two wicketkeepers and so forth, but India have also gone full B-team.

Because look back at that 2022 England tour and it’s obvious that at least one team was taking it seriously. With David Warner, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood all featuring, Australia were pretty much grooving their World Cup team. Only Glenn Maxwell failed to make the squad, and that was because of the small matter of a “snapped in half” broken leg (and with hindsight, Maxwell may have been overemphasising his need for functional legs when he pulled out).

The third and final match of this current series is tomorrow. India won the first two, so Australia will be playing for some peculiarly unremarkable brand of pride.


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  1. Not to dampen your enthusiasm that this series will be over tomorrow, but it’s actually a 5-match series, last game on Monday, so Australia can still make a glorious comeback that people will be talking about years from now.

      1. I’m sure 20 years from now King Cricket will feature it in his “Ridiculous bilateral T20 series” podcast.

  2. I know this probably sounds weird, because it feels weird, but I am actually rather looking forward to the almost-meaningless bilateral ODI/IT20 series between West Indies and England next month.

    The matches will be on at sensible times of day from my point of view, with the opportunity to see cricket taking place in warm sunny climbs after a day of (probably) relentless grey gloomy weather here in Blighty.

    Both squads have got some serious rebuilding to do ahead of the next wave of global tournaments, which makes the match up quite interesting. Three ODIs and five IT20s in just under three weeks seems “proper” too.

    I’m not pumped, but I am motivated.

  3. This perception and commentary is unfortunate to see from people quoted in this article. I dont see them as “second string” .. more of “Future strings” if that’s a thing haha !

    Yes the big guns are not in the games, but as a cricket lover and an Indian fan (in that order) like me , you would always be wondering “Alright, we have Kohli, Rohit… now. What next? Who are the future? ” – As a fan of the game if we are not excited of where the future talent is coming from, it’s a pity!

    Not often do you get a chance to test such a team, while having a genuine reason to do so (Right after world cup is ridiculous). We can see some of the future of India here under pressure. SKY gets to test his captaincy skills.So, the game is not about stars today.. but also stars tomorrow. It is a shame to see that people are talking down on them.

    Most importantly – Today they are THE team… not the A team or B team… The actual Indian and Australian team. They have been given the cap and the responsibility – So we should be cheering the young lads in this than calling this meaningless because we only like to watch proven big-guns like short-sighted entertainment mongers !

    1. We like watching future stars too. We don’t exactly see why passing off a B-team as a first team is necessary for that.

      Don’t suppose it matters much in the grand scheme of things.

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