Former Indian ODI player and current spin-bowling consultant of the Australian cricket team will re-join the team for the Sri Lanka tour in June.
The upcoming series between Australia and Pakistan has already begun to buzz with intrigue as Australia’s specialist spin-bowling coach, Chennai-born Sridharan Sriram informing Cricket Australia (CA) that he won’t be available for the series beginning on March 4, as he was unable to secure a visa because he is an Indian national. Australia has three spinners in the team – Nathan Lyon, Mitch Swepson and Ashton Agar.
Australia will be travelling to Pakistan for the first time since 1998, and it was expected that Sriram, who has taken up the role of Australia’s spin consultant since 2016, would have a big role to play on the turning tracks there.
Sriram, who had played one day internationals (ODIs) for India in the early 2000s and also played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils in 2010-11, helped the Australian team prepare for the World T20 in 2016 and finally joined their camp under Darren Lehmann for the Sri Lanka tour that same year.
It was after consecutive disastrous tours of India and Pakistan (in the UAE), that Cricket Australia began to seriously consider taking the help of an expert from the subcontinent to deal with slow turning tracks. Sriram, who was a left-arm orthodox spinner in his heydays, initially began to accompany the Australian team on their Asian tours and was also part of the setup that went to UAE in 2018. He was finally added to the coaching team that year. In 2019, he was also appointed as the batting and spin bowling coach of IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Sriram has not only accompanied the team to Asia, but he has also been a very important part of the Ashes tour in 2019 and a regular coach of the team for the last three years. He is still under contract with Cricket Australia and will join the team for its series to Sri Lanka in June.
According to Cricbuzz, former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has been approached as a replacement for Sridharan Sriram but with only a few days left for the team to depart, a deal may not materialise on time.
The Australian team is expected to reach Pakistan on 27th February. They will play two Test matches – in Lahore and Karachi and will also play three ODIs and a T20 match, to end the month-long tour on April 5. Star players David Warner, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitch Starc and Glenn Maxwell will not be playing the ODIs. Maxwell has opted out to get married to his Indian-born fiancée and the others will head to India to play in the IPL 2022, slated to begin on March 27.