(Cricket news) After winning a close T20I series, India and Sri Lanka will now shift focus on the much more important ODI series. With the World Cup coming up in India this year, this series has a lot of weightage. India will be playing with their strongest possible squad as will Sri Lanka. The 3 ODIs will be held in Guwahati, Kolkata and Trivandrum. The selectors have made a tough and controversial call of dropping Shikhar Dhawan from. They have also made Hardik Pandya new vice captain instead of KL Rahul. The series will be very important for the young players who will be looking to make their way into the World Cup squad.
India’s ideal playing XI:
Openers: Rohit Sharma & Ishan Kishan
Skipper Rohit Sharma played an incredible fighting knock against Bangladesh in his last ODI. He will be looking for a fiery return from his finger injury. The choice between Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill is a very difficult one. Gill has been very consistent in ODIs for the past 6-8 months but Kishan scored a double century in India’s last ODI. Kishan may get the nod just because he is left handed and much more explosive than Gill.
Middle order: Virat Kohli, KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer
Virat Kohli in the last ODI match ended his century drought and he will be looking to add a couple more. Kohli’s importance to this team is immense and he will be looking to roll back the years. KL Rahul’s form has been under the scanner for quite some time but he has been doing well in the middle order for India in ODIs. He may even have to keep wickets if Kishan doesn’t play. Leaving out Suryakumar Yadav is a tough call especially after his 100 in the latest T20I but Shreyas Iyer is simply undroppable in the 50 over game. He has been consistent in this format playing at numerous positions in the middle order.
All-rounders: Hardik Pandya & Axar Patel
India’s two all-rounders pretty much pick themselves. Washington Sundar is another option but Axar Patel has been in incredible form. His batting has improved massively while his bowling is just as good across formats. Pandya has also been appointed as the vice captain which is an added responsibility. His bowling fitness will really be tested as he could bowl as many as 10 overs in a match.
Seamers: Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik
India could go with just 2 seamers with Hardik Pandya acting as a 3rd, especially in Indian conditions but they have too much quality in the pace department. Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj are definitely at the front of the pecking order while it will be a tough call between Umran Malik and Arshdeep Singh. Malik is likely to get the nod because of his good form and also because his pace will be very useful. Jasprit Bumrah was originally not named in the squad but was later added before he was eventually pulled out recently. The indecisiveness is not a good sign but the BCCI has clearly mentioned that it is a precautionary measure.
Spinner: Yuzvendra Chahal
Playing Washington Sundar to make the batting line-up deeper is a realistic possibility but leaving out a wrist spinner will be a tough call. Yuzvendra Chahal is almost guaranteed to get the nod ahead of Kuldeep Yadav. The leggie will have a very important job to do in the middle overs. This is a very important series for him as an underwhelming performance here could cost him a place in the playing XI.
Bench: Shubman Gill, Suryakumar Yadav, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Yadav, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh.
Also read: Here’s what former cricketer Irfan Pathan had to say about Rohit Sharma