2019 World Cup tracker: India suffer shock loss, eyes on Williamson and Shakib

From being up 2-0, Virat Kohli‘s India lost three successive ODIs to squander the series lead and lose to Australia 2-3 in what was their final international assignment before the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.

Needing to make history, Aaron Finch’s team did just that by winning the final three ODIs to mark the first instance of an Australia team coming back from 0-2 down to win a series. (READ: Talking points: Australian tail wags, Indian middle order sags)

While this has marked a stunning turnaround in fortunes for a team that had slipped to sixth in the ICC ODI rankings and not won a bilateral series in over two years, and sends Australia into a five-match series against Pakistan in the UAE on a high, this series has left India bruised.

Ranked No 2 in ODIs, India won the 2018 Asia Cup and back-to-back ODI series in Australia and New Zealand. With a 2-0 lead, they just needed to win one more to wrap up the series. Now, after a hat-trick of defeats, India’s tag as one of the World Cup favourites will not be so certain.

Along with New Zealand, India are the only team not playing any more ODIs until the World Cup starts on May 30.

The 2019 IPL is due to start later this month, from which India’s selectors and core management will have one last shot to assess performances before the April 23 deadline to submit World Cup squads. (READ: We need to raise our standard of cricket: Virat Kohli)

WILLIAMSON MISSES TRAINING

In other news, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson did not train with the team at Hagley Oval on Thursday and is a doubtful starter for the final Test against Bangladesh starting Saturday.

With 79 days left until New Zealand open their World Cup campaign on June 1 versus Sri Lanka, it would not be a surprise if the management opts to sit Williamson out.

SHAKIB GRANTED NOC TO PLAY IPL

Bangladesh have sorely missed their talismanic allrounder Shakib Al Hasan on the tour of New Zealand, where they lost all three ODIs and are 0-2 down in the Tests.

Shakib is sidelined with a finger injury sustained during the Bangladesh Premier League, and the Bangladesh Cricket Board did not seek to risk playing him in New Zealand. He will now travel instead to India, however, having been granted a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to participate in the IPL.

Shakib has been instructed by the Bangladesh Cricket Board to manage his workload carefully with the World Cup in mind.