After scripting history in the Test series, the Virat Kohli-led side will hope to get off to a good start in the three-match ODI series as well. India, who had to settle for a draw in the T20I series, will be playing its first ODI of 2019 against Australia in the series opener on Saturday in Sydney.
After a sensational batting performance in the T20I series, Shikhar Dhawan missed the Tests as he was dropped from the squad owing to a poor form in the longest format of the game. But, with the Indian team getting ready to start 2019 on a higher note, Dhawan will be hoping for a great start to the year just like he had in the previous one. In his two T20I innings in Australia in November, Dhawan had scores of 76 and 41 in Brisbane and Sydney respectively.
After missing out the Sydney Test as he had to return home for the birth of his child, Rohit Sharma will be in a comfortable position in the ODIs. The Indian vice-captain sounded very positive during the press conference ahead of the first game and the Indian team management will want the top-order batsman to amass as many runs as possible to provide the Indians with a good start alongside Dhawan. After having an exciting series against the Windies back home, the Indian vice-captain had a poor outing in the two T20I games in Australia.
The Indian skipper was full of pride after a sensational show by his team in the four-match Test series even if he didn’t perform as per his high standards. Considered as one of the finest ODI cricketers in the history of the game, Kohli will have the aim of scoring runs at a better average in the shorter format than the recently-concluded Test series. The Indian skipper's last innings in a white ball game ended up him scoring an unbeaten 61 at the SCG.
Ambati Rayudu has more or less solved Kohli’s confusion regarding the No. 4 position in ODIs after getting a hundred and a fifty in the series against the Windies back home. But, the 33-year-old batsman from Hyderabad will have a tougher test in Australia where the challenges will be different. Rayudu has certainly proved himself in the limited overs international as he has got 1447 runs from 45 ODIs at an impressive average of 51.67. He is someone who has the ability to play both as an anchor and an aggressor as per the requirements of the team which makes him a suitable choice for the crucial position of No.4.
Kedar Jadhav batted exceedingly well in the last two matches in the ongoing Ranji Trophy for his home state where he got scores of 99 and 103 respectively. Now, after recovering from the hamstring injury and a good run in domestic cricket, Jadhav will eye to seal his spot in the ODI side for the World Cup later this year. As a part-time off-spinner, he has been very effective for the Indian team and considering the conditions at the SCG, the Indian team will want to use him effectively during the series opener as well.
Amidst all the discussions, India will go into the ODI series with the very experienced MS Dhoni behind the stumps. He was not a part of the T20I series against the Windies at home and against the Aussies as well as the selectors wanted to groom someone like Rishabh Pant, but as Rohit said, the ODI side needs someone like Dhoni as a calming factor. The former skipper has been out of competitive cricket for last two months and the match-practice is going to be really important for the veteran in upcoming series Down Under.
With Hardik Pandya almost certain to get a ban after CoA chief Vinod Rai’s reactions on his controversial comments, India
There will be a headache for the team management to choose between both the wrist spinners in the side. But considering his recent five-wicket haul at the SCG, the team will go ahead with the left-
After sitting on the bench for the entire duration of the Test series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will try to get the ball do the talking from the very first game itself. Considering the fact that the World Cup is going to be played in England, Bhuvi’s skill of moving the ball will have a huge impact on the Indian team’s success. He will spearhead the Indian pace attack against the Aussies in the ODI series with pacers like Mohammed Shami and Khaleel Ahmed along with Mohammed Siraj in the squad.
In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, who has been rested for the ODIs, Mohammed Shami will look forward to improving his numbers in the ODIs. Shami is expected to share the new ball and he will try his best in picking up wickets as Bhuvi can just try and contain runs from the other end. The Bengal pacer managed to play only a couple of ODIs both against the Windies in the previous year but the six-wicket haul against Australia in the Perth Test would have given him a lot of confidence going into the ODI series.
Making his debut during the Asia Cup last year, Khaleel Ahmed has been impressive with his bowling. India has found an effective left-arm pacer and the team management has the best chance to nurture the 21-year-old young talent from Rajasthan with Bumrah being rested for the ODIs. He has the ability to swing the ball both ways and it remains to be seen, how effective he is going to prove for the Indians in the upcoming series. Khaleel has bagged 11 wickets from six matches at an average of 24 so far in his four-month-long international career.
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