(Cricket news) India have just dismantled Sri Lanka 3-0 in the ODI series. The men in blue will be very confident about their game at the moment. Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid will be hoping to continue in the same manner and tick more boxes. There are a few changes to the squad as KL Rahul and Axar Patel are unavailable due to family commitments. KS Bharat and Shahbaz Ahmed have been brought in as their replacements. Arshdeep Singh has been dropped from the side after not playing any games against Sri Lanka and Shardul Thakur has been brought in. The World Cup is coming up and that too in India and the hosts will be playing a lot of games to prepare for it. The series against New Zealand will be a very good challenge for team India.
India’s ideal playing XI –
Openers: Rohit Sharma & Shubman Gill
Skipper Rohit Sharma is back amongst the runs in the ODIs but the next step will be for him to get big scores. Converting a good start is something Rohit has been struggling with for a while and he will be looking to do it in this series. Shubman Gill just needs to keep on doing what he is doing. His place in the side is pretty much secure after consistent performances. Gill may have to shift down the order if the team needs him as Ishan Kishan is likely to come into the line-up as a wicketkeeper.
Middle order: Virat Kohli & Suryakumar Yadav
Virat Kohli is well and truly back, having scored 3 tons in his last 4 ODI games. India will be hoping that he continues to dominate the game as he has done for the majority of his career. Shreyas Iyer had a very good 2022 especially in ODIs but the New Zealand series wasn’t too great and now he has been ruled out of the series due to a back injury. Suryakumar Yadav now has a perfect opportunity to break into the side at his preffered number 4 spot.
Wicket keeper: Ishan Kishan
KL Rahul’s direct replacement would be KS Bharat who is a middle order batter but Ishan Kishan has to be given priority. After scoring a double hundred in Bangladesh he was not in the starting line-up for the Sri Lanka series. Gill’s incredible form makes it difficult for Kishan to get into the line-up but Rahul’s absence is a good opportunity for him. Where he bats will be interesting to see as he is most comfortable at the top but Gill and Rohit have been doing well up top.
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya & Washington Sundar
Vice captain Hardik Pandya will be keen to contribute more with bat and ball. He was rested in the last match against Sri Lanka and will be raring to go again. Washington Sundar is Axar Patel’s likely replacement in the squad. Shahbaz Ahmed is also an option but Sundar has been waiting for his opportunity. He was brought in for the last match against Sri Lanka but he didn’t bat or bowl in the game. He will be looking to make a case for himself to be in the ODI World Cup squad.
Seamers: Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj & Umran Malik
In Jasprit Bumrah’s absence this trio is the best option India has. Mohammed Siraj’s ability with the new ball has improved so much and he will be looking to go a level up. Mohammed Shami didn’t pick a lot of wickets against Sri Lanka but he bowled exceptionally well. Umran Malik’s pace is ripping through batters and he will be looking to continue doing that whilst improving his accuracy and intelligence. There is an outside chance that Shardul Thakur plays just to give India more batting depth.
Spinner: Kuldeep Yadav
Technically Yuzvendra Chahal was ahead of Kuldeep Yadav before the injury that kept Chahal out of the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka. However, Kuldeep Yadav’s incredible performances across all formats cannot be ignored anymore. His variations and ability to pick up wickets in the middle overs even when the conditions are not helpful is a big positive. He will be keen to perform well against New Zealand to absolutely cement his spot at least in the ODIs.
Bench: Rajat Patidar, KS Bharat, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal
Also read: India couldn’t have asked for a better start to the World Cup year