A chance for India to start over
Match factsFebruary 1, Stadium Australia, Sydney
Start time 1935 (0835 GMT)
Nobody is more desperate to move on from the last six weeks than India's cricketers. Here is their perfect opportunity to do so. The first T20 not only pits two very different sides against each other, compared to those that played in the Tests, it also takes India and Australia to an entirely new venue for international cricket: Stadium Australia. The stadium, at Homebush in Sydney's west, was built for the 2000 Olympics and has a far greater capacity than the SCG. It will become the 19th ground in the country to host international cricket.
Appropriately enough it will host a new-look Australia team under the captaincy of debutant George Bailey. The 40-year-old spinner Brad Hogg will make his comeback after a vintage campaign from him in the Big Bash League, while the fast bowler James Faulkner could be in line for his debut. David Warner and Shaun Marsh are the only men in the squad who took part in the Tests against India.
The visitors have more of a crossover from the Test series, but there has still been plenty of new blood injected into the group. A 17-strong party has assembled for the T20s and the triangular one-day series that follows, including relatively inexperienced men like Rahul Sharma and Manoj Tiwary, but who will get the nod for the first match remains a mystery. Both sides are also hoping to use the series to narrow down their list of potential players for the World T20, to be held in Sri Lanka in September.
Form guide(Most recent first)
In the spotlightWho else but George Bailey? Not since Dave Gregory in the very first Test match has a man made his international debut for Australia as captain. And with plenty of attention having been paid to Bailey's record in the shortest format, he will be hoping to show what he can offer at No.5, while also marshalling his troops in the field.
India always appear a more dynamic outfit when Suresh Raina is present, and he will provide spark not only in the batting line-up but also in the field. Spark is precisely what India need to rediscover after their Test slump.
Australia have named a 14-man squad and as the selectors cast an eye to the World Twenty20 they are likely to give each player an opportunity in at least one of these two games. Shaun Marsh is in the group despite having been dropped from the upcoming ODIs, and this could be a chance for him to free his mind and play naturally. Daniel Christian and Mitchell Marsh could be battling for one spot, while Xavier Doherty and Hogg are the two slow-bowling options. The selectors will probably want to see what the uncapped Faulkner can deliver, while Clint McKay is also in the squad.
Australia (possible) 1 David Warner, 2 Shaun Marsh, 3 Aaron Finch, 4 David Hussey, 5 George Bailey (capt), 6 Travis Birt, 7 Mitchell Marsh / Daniel Christian, 8 Matthew Wade (wk), 9 Brad Hogg, 10 Brett Lee, 11 James Faulkner.
India have a big group to choose from, and the make-up of their attack is not yet clear. Ravindra Jadeja and Irfan Pathan might be competing for the same spot, and the extra spinner could be desirable if the drop-in pitch proves slow.
India (possible) 1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Suresh Raina, 5 Rohit Sharma, 6 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja / Irfan Pathan, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Umesh Yadav.
Pitch and conditionsAs a new international venue, it will be interesting to see what the Stadium Australia pitch offers. The former Adelaide Oval curator Les Burdett has been brought in to prepare surface. Like most drop-in pitches, it is unlikely to have much in the way of pace and bounce.
Stats and trivia
- At 40, Hogg will be the third-oldest man to play a T20 international. He played two T20s for Australia back in 2006 and 2007, but didn't take a wicket.
- Australia and India have met in four T20s for two wins each - the first two went India's way and Australia won the second two
Quotes"I'm nervous about both [captaincy and debut], from the playing aspect you're anxious to get out there and perform really well, and the captaining side of things I'm really comfortable with that, it's more getting to know the players as quickly as I can."
Australia's new captain George Bailey
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here