Comeback man Yuvraj Singh will be the cynosure of all eyes as a full-strength India lock horns with a relatively inexperienced Australian side in the one-off Twenty20 game in Rajkot on Thursday, aiming to gain early momentum ahead of the upcoming seven-match ODI series. The match, which is expected to set the tone for a gruelling season ahead, promises to be an exciting face-off at the SCA Stadium, with Australia keen to test their young players before the return Ashes showdown with England.
The elements, though, could play spoilsport. The state has been experiencing heavy downpour and the Met department has forecast more rains till Thursday.
The hosts, with most of their players having got into the groove for the long international season ahead by taking part in the Champions T20 League or by playing for India A, start as favourites against the visitors led by Tasmanian George Bailey.
The two teams have faced off in seven previous T20 games, with Australia holding a slightly better record at 4-3.
India last played a T20 match against Pakistan at Ahmedabad in December.
After a two-month break from international cricket, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will look to re-start his stint at the helm with a win. He had warmed up nicely with a good outing for Chennai Super Kings in the CLT20.
However, the focus will be primarily on Yuvraj, who would be eager to prove a point after being recalled to the squad following a string of good scores for India A against the Windies A and a solid display for India Blue in the Challenger Series.
The 31-year-old had also scored a quick-fire 52 off 35 balls against the West Indies A in a T20 game in Bangalore.
Apart from his explosive batting, Yuvraj's left-arm spin will also be handy in the shortest form of the game.