On Sunday, when Team India will take the field against England in the 1st ODI in Pune, an inception of new era will begin under the reigns of a young and fast-improving captain – Virat Kohli. This will be for the first time that the Delhi batsman and India’s batting mainstay will lead the team as a full-time captain. There surely must be some butterflies in his stomach, as he will be captaining a team whose wicket-keeper, MS Dhoni captained the Men in Blue for almost a decade. Apart from him, Virat will also be captaining comeback all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, who is expected to be in the playing XI.
Team India has had a mixed 2016, in terms of One-Day Internationals, as compared to their tremendous success in Tests. India lost the ODI series Down Under in Australia 1-4, won an ODI series 3-0 against a wayward Zimbabwe and won 3-2 against New Zealand, which was a fighting series, considering New Zealand’s credentials as an ODI unit.
The ICC Champions Trophy is just 4 months away and Team India hardly played any ODIs, compared to T20s and Tests. Thus, this 3 ODI series against England is their final chance to form a potent combination as a unit. With MS Dhoni handing over the responsibility of captaincy to Virat Kohli, it will be interesting to witness, as to how does the new ODI captain performs in his 1st series as full-time captain of the limited-overs team.
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Team India’s present squad looks completely different than the one that defeated New Zealand 3-2. The two Test spinners in R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are back, while veteran Yuvraj Singh, too is back in the scheme of things. Opener KL Rahul too looks fit to open the batting with Shikhar Dhawan/Ajinkya Rahane, in Rohit Sharma’s absence. The middle-order looks solid, as MS Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh are certain to bat at No.4 and no.5 respectively. The Indian bench strength too looks strong as it boasts names like Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin.
The bowling combination mainly will be spin-heavy, considering England’s vulnerability against spin. England boasts of a completely different ODI unit as compared to Tests and possess contemporary and unorthodox batsmen who can play rever-sweeps, upper-cuts and switch-hits at will. They bat deep and might cause some headache for Virat Kohli and his bowlers.
India (probable XI): Shikhar Dhawan/Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli (capt.), MS Dhoni (wk), Yuvraj Singh, Kedar Jadhav/Amit Mishra, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah.
England (probable XI): Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jos Buttler (wk), Eoin Morgan (capt), Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett/Liam Dawson.