NZ v India 1st ODI Preview: Rohit Sharma's injury reduces delta between both sides in series opener
While both Indian openers, Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw will be making their ODI debut, the return of Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme will bolster the Kiwi 11.
The venue for this match, the Seddon Park in Hamilton offers smallish straight boundaries and the bowlers would not pitch too many deliveries up to the batsmen. It is not expected to be an absolute hitting-fest with the pitch offering something for the bowlers as well.
Venue - Seddon Park, Hamilton
Start on/at - Tuesday, Feb 5, 02:00 AM GMT | 03:00 PM LOCAL | 07:30 AM IST
Head to Head record in ODIs - New Zealand: 46 India: 55 Tied: 1 No Result: 5
Weather - Mostly sunny, 25°C, Precipitation: 0%, Humidity: 48%, Wind: 27 km/h
The Rohit setback for India
India were already without one of their opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan, who was ruled out of the tour of New Zealand after a shoulder injury during the last ODI against Australia. Their other permanent opener and white-ball vice-captain Rohit Sharma also sustained a calf strain in the last T20I against New Zealand and has been ruled out of both the ODIs and the Tests.
Virat Kohli confirmed in the pre-match press conference that KL Rahul, in his new role as the wicketkeeper, will continue to bat in the middle order to have a better understanding of his batting spot. This leaves India with two new players taking their place at the top of the order in Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal.
Williamson still unfit
Apart from the absence of their three frontline pacers, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, which had already weakened the New Zealand side, skipper Kane Williamson, after missing the last two T20Is due to a shoulder injury, has not been able to recover in time and Mark Chapman will take his place at one drop. Chapman struck centuries in the last two matches against India A and is in fine form.
Debuts for Shaw and Agarwal
With both Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan injured and KL Rahul batting in the middle order, both Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal would make their ODI debut together. Although there is no lack of potential in the two, both of them will have some nerves in their first-ever ODI and New Zealand would look to cash in.
Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul will continue to bat at 3, 4 and 5. There is competition among three players for the number 6 spot. Shivam Dube and Kedar Jadhav can be considered if the team is looking for the sixth bowling option. But, it does not look likely with Manish Pandey having left an impact in the T20I series. Pandey is likely to get his due in the 50-over format and will expect to get a long rope.
Return of Latham crucial
New Zealand have looked a bit off-colour and have not won in any of their last nine games. The need of the hour is for fresh faces to come into the team and enthuse it with positive energy. The comebacks of Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme are expected to serve this purpose.
Latham has been one of the leading run-scorers for New Zealand in ODIs. The wicketkeeper, who has been in red-hot form in first-class cricket, will also serve as the stand-in captain in the absence of Williamson.
Neesham and de Grandhomme impart balance
Jimmy Neesham, who many thought should have been a part of the T20Is as well, is back. Neesham has scored over 100 runs and picked up 7 wickets in his last two List A matches and would be great for the balance of the side.
Colin de Grandhomme, who was barely used with the ball in the T20I series, will have a bigger role to play in the ODIs. His military medium pace would be expected to contain the Indian batsmen through the middle overs. And, of course, when on song, the all-rounder can always hurt India with bat in hand.
Here's a look at the probable playing XI of both teams:
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Henry Nicholls, Mark Chapman, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (c & wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Jimmy Neesham, Ish Sodhi, Kyle Jamieson, Hamish Bennett, Scott Kuggeleijn
India - Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Virat Kohli (c), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Manish Pandey, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah
This is where you can catch all the live action across the globe:
India & Subcontinent: Star Sports, Hotstar
New Zealand: SKY Sport NZ
UK: Sky Sports Cricket
Australia: Fox Sports
South Africa: SuperSport
Canada: ATN Cricket Plus (Asian Television Network), CBN
USA: Willow TV, Hotstar
Malaysia: Astro Cricket HD
Middle East and North Africa (MENA): OSN Sports Cricket HD
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