After whitewashing the Kiwis in the Test series, the MS Dhoni-led ODI team will look to replicate what Virat Kohli’s Test team did. Both India and New Zealand play a five-match ODI series beginning on October 16 at Dharamsala.
The ODI series will be a tough nut to crack for the men in blue as the selectors have decided to rest some of India’s senior bowlers (R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammad Shami) to have them fresh for the long home season. The squad features two ODI rookies in Hardik Pandya and Jayant Yadav.
New Zealand are a very strong ODI team and the hosts have to play out of their skin to win the series. Let us take a look at India’s playing XIs for the ODIs.
Squad: MS Dhoni (C and WK), Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Suresh Raina
Rohit Sharma has been consistent in the ODIs ever since he was asked to open the innings in 2013. Since then, the right-hander has amazed 3030 runs in just 61 innings at an excellent average of 56.11 and a strike-rate of 90. It is certain that the Mumbaikar will open the innings for India in the series against New Zealand.
The other opener’s slot is an area of concern for the team management as Rohit’s regular opening partner Shikhar Dhawan is ruled out of the first three ODIs due to a thumb injury he sustained during the second Test against the Kiwis at Eden Gardens. KL Rahul, who is in the form of the life is also not included in the squad due to a hamstring injury.
This leaves the team management with no option but to try either Ajinkya Rahane or Mandeep Singh as the other opener. Rahane, who plays in the middle-order for India in ODIs has been in fine form and has improved a lot as a batsman in this format in the last one year. Mandeep, on the other hand, is yet to make his ODI debut and it is likely that the team management will go in with Rahane as a second opener ahead of the rookie batsman Mandeep.
Openers: Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane