The Indian team will be missing their charismatic leader in the opening game of the three-match ODI series against Australia as Rohit Sharma is unavailable for the series opener due to family commitments. In the absence of the veteran opener Rohit, deputy skipper, Hardik Pandya is leading the Virat Kohli-starrer side as India is all set to resume its preparations for the ODI World Cup.
For the first time in his glittering white-ball career, all-rounder Pandya will be donning the captain’s hat in ODIs. Pandya has been India’s regular T20I skipper in the absence of all-format captain Rohit. The white-ball maverick had replaced opener KL Rahul as India’s deputy skipper in the limited-overs format after the T20 World Cup.
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Speaking to reporters at the traditional press conference ahead of the 1st ODI between India and Australia, Hardik Pandya said, “Ishan and Shubman will be opening the innings. The wicket looks how it does throughout the year. I have been playing here for almost seven years. It is going to be challenging because this wicket will give equal opportunities to both the sides.”
Fresh from a sublime century in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2023, Shubman Gill is set to spearhead Team India’s formidable batting order with Kohli. The youngster has registered three centuries in six ODIs. India’s highest ODI run-getter in the 2022/23 season, opener Gill has smashed 755 runs for the Men In Blue.
India has been exceptional in bilateral series but the Asian giants have struggled to end their title drought in the recent ICC events. Before meeting Australia in the ODI series, Team India had punched their tickets for the final of the ICC World Test Championship.
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Elaborating the same, Hardik Pandya said, “I don’t think we have tried anything new. We will be trying to be a little brave which I think in the last couple of series we have done quite well. All these bilaterals are as challenging, they can get as close to the wire as they can. That is the only way we are going to learn and start playing under pressure of knockouts (in ICC tournaments). (But) we don’t need to look at that right now, the past is past and we are hoping for the best things to come.”