India vs England 1st ODI Preview: T20 World Cup auditions continue in least relevant format
Two out of Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant will play for India. Likewise, England can consider giving the gloves to Jonny Bairstow and blooding in Liam Livingstone while resting Jos Buttler.
Opportunities for fringe players
With the next ODI World Cup scheduled in 2023, there is not a lot at stake in the upcoming three-match ODI series between India and England apart from the 30 World Cup Super League points. With the 50-over format the least relevant at the moment, both teams will try to use it in order to give their fringe players opportunities and allow them to dish out strong performances to stake their claim for the T20 World Cup.
Both teams have reached Pune from Ahmedabad and will stay in the city through the duration of the three-match ODI series.
Dhawan and Rohit to open
Shikhar Dhawan, after getting just one opportunity in the T20I series, is all set to open the batting alongside Rohit Sharma for India. Given that Rishabh Pant has returned to India's white-ball setup and appears to be the first-choice wicket keeper batsman again, there are question marks over the place of KL Rahul in the playing XI, who had been in the role of the wicket keeper batsman till now.
There is a chance that Rohit Sharma might be rested again to fit in both KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. Virat Kohli will bat at number 3. Shreyas Iyer has done enough to retain his spot, but with Suryakumar Yadav playing a couple of special hands in the T20I series, Kohli might just be tempted to give him an extended run in white-ball cricket and see what he can deliver.
Rishabh Pant is likely to bat at number 5. Hardik Pandya may have bowled his full quota of overs in the T20Is, but there is still uncertainty about whether his body is fit enough to take the workload of bowling 10 overs in ODI cricket.
Pandya brothers set to play together
As a result, India will have to go in with six bowling options with the Pandya brothers, Hardik and Krunal, likely to make up for the 10 overs of the fifth bowler.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is likely to partner T Natarajan as India's leading pace bowlers in the ODI format. Prasidh Krishna was picked ahead of Navdeep Saini in the ODI squad and is expected to be given an opportunity. He will compete with Shardul Thakur for the spot of the third pace bowler.
Kuldeep must play
In the spinner's spot, it is only logical for India to select Kuldeep Yadav over Yuzvendra Chahal as he has been just moving around from one squad to another. It is ideal to give him all the three matches and assess whether or not he is in good rhythm.
If not, it is best to release him and allow the left-arm wrist spinner to play domestic competitions and gain both confidence and form.
Big three games for Billings
For England, the tried and trusted opening combination of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow will take centre stage, with Sam Billings set to be slotted in the middle order alongside Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes.
It will be interesting to see whether Jos Buttler dons the gloves and is in the role of the finisher or England hand the gloves to Jonny Bairstow and provide an opportunity to Liam Livingstone while resting Buttler.
Moeen Ali to finally get a game
Sam Curran is likely to find a place in the England playing XI, with Reece Topley and Tom Curran competing for another spot. Mark Wood is likely to be the leader of the pack in ODIs after the unavailability of Jofra Archer.
After being given the cold shoulder through the T20I series, Moeen Ali is expected to partner Adil Rashid in the one-day matches to round off the England bowling attack and also provide some batting firepower lower down the order.
Here are the probable playing XIs:
India - Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer/Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Shardul Thakur/Prasidh Krishna, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav
England - Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Ben Stokes, Sam Curran, Reece Topley/Tom Curran, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Mark Wood
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