The upcoming clash between India and Sri Lanka for first ODI of the 5-match series will be a hint of an opportunity for Team India to make their core team before World Cup 2019.
However, Virat Kohli and his men are well aware of the fact that Sri Lankan side can easily upset them, especially after witnessing the last encounter of the two teams in London, during the ICC Champions Trophy.
With young Indian lads like KL Rahul and Manish Pandey getting the opportunities ahead of the veteran Yuvraj Singh, the selectors have made their intentions pretty clear. There is a lot of competition in the Indian dressing room and it seems that the Sri Lankan series will present a clear picture of the future prospects of Indian cricket.
With the first ODI at Dambulla just a day away, here is the predicted Indian XI for the first ODI.
Dhawan made a phenomenal comeback in the ODI squad in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 with a stimulating performance, where he finished as the leading run-scorer in the tournament. After a decent tour of the Caribbean, the Delhite batsman will be looking to cement his spot with some swashbuckling performance against the Lankans.
After being rested for the West Indies’ tour, revitalized Rohit Sharma is expected to be playing at the opening slot as he is now the deputy skipper of Team India. The combination of Dhawan-Rohit has done wonders for India in the last few years, even in the Champions Trophy, they were at the top notch.
Virat Kohli (c)
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli is in phenomenal form in limited overs format from past couple of years. Playing in a nation which has already witnessed his batting masterclass in the past, the stage would be set for King Kohli to reign supreme.
Recently, head of the selection committee MSK Prasad expressed his views on how KL Rahul can be an effective middle order batsman. Rahul can be surely used at number four, a position that has given the management a lot of stress since the 2015 World Cup. Multiple batsmen have tried for that spot, but all in vain. Rahul is the latest one to jump in the contention and given his immense talent; he could well make that spot his own.
MS Dhoni (wk)
For the ever legendary MS Dhoni, this series will a test is the complete litmus test. Dhoni’s performances in 2017 have shown glimpses that he can play a crucial role in World Cup 2019, still, he needs to perform at the top-notch in the upcoming series.
Jadhav has come with flying colors in 2017, especially after his match-winning innings against England, earlier this year. He is finishing the game for Team India more often than not since then. Despite the fact that India’s top order is performing way too good in recent time, the Maharashtra batsman has made count each and every opportunity he has got so far. He can play a role of a finisher for Team India in next couple of years.
In this tour, Pandya has been one of the most talked about points hence the Indian think tank has got the opportunity to play with just two frontline pacers. If they do so then that will an ideal test of Hardik’s bowling skills. The young lad also enjoyed a productive Champions Trophy, where he outshined in both departments.
Axar Patel has been suitably rewarded with a slot in the squad, mainly due to his ever consistent performances for the India A team. As a matter of fact, Patel is arguably one of the best all-rounders in India in limited overs cricket. His batting skills have improved quite a lot, and if he has a good series, there will be a serious competition for Ravindra Jadeja.
Kuldeep impressed one and all in the Caribbean with the way he outclassed Ashwin and Jadeja with relative ease in each game. A wrist spinner is a much-needed entity in the modern era and Kuldeep is an extremely attacking a wicket option that can change the course of a match in a single spell.
Having warmed the benches in the Test-leg of the tour, Bhevneshwar will now be eager to make an impact in ODIs. He has improved extremely as a pacer and added a few crucial weapons in his armory, which make him a go to the bowler in the limited overs format.
In the Caribbean tour, Bumrah was rested and now he is raring to go against the Lankans. In this series, Bumrah will look to improve his new ball bowling skills as he faces intense competition from the other pacers in the scheme of things.