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Five Indian players who can make a mark against Zimbabwe

India’s triumph at the Champions Trophy was virtually flawless as they dominated all their opponents on the road to the finals where the rain-interrupted match was snatched away from hosts England. That campaign left an impression that India were truly dominant in the shorter format of the game, but gaping holes appeared as India slumped to two consecutive defeats within a week of that triumph in the Caribbean.

While most cricket pundits would put down those two defeats to an overkill in the cricketing calendar, fatigue and satiation, it would be incorrect to ignore some of the areas where more work needs to be done. There is no doubt that India have a core group of players who will form the team that eventually goes to the 2015 World Cup, but a bigger pool of players would be required for the perpetuation of success.

Some of India’s key players who have played a massive role in India’s success in the last two years have been rested for the tour to Zimbabawe, where the Indian team will play a five-match ODI series. It will be a huge chance for some fresh talent to showcase their abilities at the international stage.

Parvez Rasool has evoked expectation as he becomes a symbol of cricket reaching the margins and becoming a factor that unites a nation of great diversity. Mohit Sharma has been selected to the side after he had an impressive Indian Premier League campaign with runners-up Chennai Super Kings. Jaydev Unadkat is another fast-bowler, contracted to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Saurashtra, who gets the nod as India try to expand their pool of fast bowling options.

Here is a list of five players who will be eager, as well as likely, to make a mark on the tour to Zimbabwe:

5. Ajinkya Rahane

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Ajinkya Rahane made a promising start to his international career, scoring a half-century in his second game in hostile conditions against a quality bowling opposition in England. He has been in and out of the side since without receiving a prolonged run even when Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were consistently failing.

His misfortunes are likely to continue in the immediate future as India have now fully invested their faith in the abilities of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma. Both of these openers are travelling to Zimbabwe, but Sharma might slip into the middle order at some point in order to afford Rahane an opportunity.

However, it is difficult to see how he can make the squad in the long run even if he scores heavily in this series.

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