The Indian Premier League (IPL), the most prestigious T20 competition in the world, has unified players across countries and cultures. Most of Australia’s squad for the T20I series against Team India have taken part in the lucrative franchise league.
Needless to say, international rivals have become friends after playing in the IPL. These friendships have made on-field battles much more interesting to watch, while also adding a new dimension to the game in terms of tactics and planning.
Here are three IPL friendships that could light up the India-Australia T20I series, which begins today in Mohali.
Honorable Mention: Virat Kohli and Aaron Finch
#3 Yuzvendra Chahal and Glenn Maxwell
Teammates at both the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Yuzvendra Chahal and Glenn Maxwell have struck up a friendship forged over many years in the IPL. Although they now play for different franchises, with Chahall having moved to the Rajasthan Royals, the duo can often be seen poking fun at each other.
Maxwell had this to say about Chahal last year:
“We first were in the same squad in 2013 for Mumbai Indians. So we have been friends for a long time now. We have been close ever since. Every time we come up against each other it is the same feeling. A big hug before the game. I am playing with him while I am on the ground, putting him in a headlock while I am batting and he is bowling.”
Chahal vs Maxwell will be a massive battle to watch out for in the middle overs. The leg-spinner has dismissed the maverick Aussie batter five times in 13 T20 innings, but Maxwell strikes at 178.37 against him.
#2 Pat Cummins and Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik may not be part of the Kolkata Knight Riders anymore, but the veteran keeper enjoyed a decent run with the franchise in which he even captained them for a couple of seasons. One of KKR’s most expensive signings, Pat Cummins, featured under him for a considerable while.
The duo have been seen poking fun at each other on social media, and their battle on the field will be even more exciting to watch in the India-Australia series. With Mitchell Starc missing, Cummins might have an increased role to play at the death, where he could run into a marauding Karthik. Who will come out on top?
#1 Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood
RCB teammates Harshal Patel and Josh Hazlewood are two of the best T20 bowlers in the world right now. While Harshal is just returning from injury and hasn’t yet set the T20I stage on fire with his performances, Hazlewood has evolved into an incredibly talented all-format pacer.
This might not be a direct rivalry like the other two on the list, but Harshal and Hazlewood will have points to prove. While the former will want to establish his place in the Indian side ahead of names like Arshdeep Singh, the Aussie speedster will have his task cut out for him in conditions that might not assist him much with the new ball.
Q. Who will come out on top in the India-Australia T20I series?