After a disastrous 2014, Team India will be hoping for better luck in 2015. They are starting a new chapter wherein Virat Kohli will lead the side in the Sydney Test against the Aussies, their first assignment in the New Year. While the Sydney Test will mark the culmination of a series that began last year, one which India have already lost, we take a look at what India can look forward to in the New Year, hoping for improved results.
Tri-series in Australia: In the run-up to the World Cup, India, Australia and England will face each other in the tri-series, which begins in the second half of January 16. Australia would undoubtedly be the favourites at home, but India, being the world champions, would be keen to put up a much better show than they did back in 2011-12. They would like to take heart from the fact that they had beaten a much-superior Australian side, during the tri-series back in 2008. The challenge will be tougher this time though.
The World Cup: The tri-series will be immediately followed by the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. India find themselves in Pool B. Their first match would actually be against Pakistan on February 15. This will be followed by games against South Africa, UAE, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe. With at least three easy games at their disposal, India should not find it difficult progressing to the next round, but their real challenge will come against the top sides in the quarter-final, provided they do not put up a repeat show of the disastrous 2007 edition in West Indies.
India tour of Bangladesh: Following the conclusion of the IPL, India will head to Bangladesh for two Tests and three ODIs. Although India would start favourites, Bangladesh are no longer pushovers. They have gotten the better of India many times recently. Thus, India must be very wary of Bangladesh so that they don’t end up being embarrassed again.
Pakistan tour of India (uncertain): As per the FTP, Pakistan is scheduled to visit India in August. But, the series is unlikely to go ahead given the strained relations between the two countries. It has been a while since the two nations have faced each other in a bilateral series.
South Africa tour of India: The Proteas are scheduled to arrive in India for three Tests, seven ODIs and two T20s in October this year. South Africa have done very well against India both at home, and away. Even in the recent series last year, they overcame India. The hosts would be keen to set the record straight, at least at home.
Sri Lanka tour of India: The year would end with familiar opponents Sri Lanka visiting India for a three-Test series in December 2015. As always, the contest is expected to be a close one. But, India will be extremely disappointed if they fail to put it across the Sri Lankans.
--By A Cricket Analyst