Australia's World Cup celebrations on hold as T20 series begins in India

Five-match series kicks off in Visakhapatnam on Thursday

Australia's Steve Smith has remained in India for the five-match T20 series. AFP
Powered by automated translation

It has been just a few days since Australia defeated home favourites India to lift the 50-over World Cup title in Ahmedabad.

As Travis Head scored a scintillating century in front of over 92,000 fans at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Australia's incredible 2023 season had reached its pinnacle. Winning the World Test Championship final, retaining the Ashes and lifting the 50-over title in a calendar year is as good as it gets.

The dust has still not settled on Australia's celebrations but the players will be back out on the field again, in a T20 series between the World Cup finalists that starts on Thursday – just four days after the 50-over world title clash.

The dissonance in the cricket calendar could not be more stark, asking players who participated in a physically and emotionally draining event like the World Cup to put their kits back on again the same week.

While India have rested almost all of their first-choice players who participated in the World Cup, the Aussies have surprisingly retained seven members of their World Cup-winning squad for the five-match T20 series.

That is possibly one of the reasons why Australia captain Pat Cummins received a subdued welcome on his return home following the World Cup win, with other members of the victorious group returning in batches. A proper ceremony to felicitate the World Cup winners could be some time away.

"We've all split off our own different ways, there's T20s coming up, some guys are on aeroplanes at the moment getting home as well," wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey said upon arrival in Adelaide.

"It's probably pretty odd scheduling now that you look at it, to win a World Cup and a few days later you're playing again."

Australia will be captained by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, with World Cup knockouts hero Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis, and Adam Zampa among those who have remained in India for the T20 series.

Australia's cricket World Cup final win over India stuns 110,000 fans in Ahmedabad.

Australia's cricket World Cup final win over India stuns 110,000 fans in Ahmedabad.

The home team, on the other hand, will be captained by Suryakumar Yadav, with the squad light on experience but filled with T20 specialists.

Wicketkeeper Ishan Kishan will get a chance to cement his spot in the white-ball team, while explosive batsmen Rinku Singh and Shivam Dube will be hoping to make their mark as teams shift their focus to the T20 World Cup in the summer of next year.

The T20 series opens in Visakhapatnam on Thursday, followed by games in Thiruvananthapuram on November 26 and Guwahati on November 28.

Shreyas Iyer will join the squad as vice-captain for the last two T20s, in Raipur on December 1 and in Bengaluru on December 5.

Updated: November 22, 2023, 9:56 AM