India vs New Zealand 2017: India's predicted playing XI for first ODI
After beating Australia 4-1 in the recently-concluded ODI series, Virat Kohli and his men have turned their attention to the visiting New Zealanders as they take on the Kiwis in a three-match ODI series starting in Mumbai on October 22.
Batsman KL Rahul and pacers Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav were excluded from the squad while wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and pacer Shardul Thakur made the cut.
Indian ODI squad to face New Zealand: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzi Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.
There are a couple of slots in the team that are up for grabs and few players are competing to cement their places in the XI. Let us take a look at India's playing XI for the first ODI of the series.
Without a doubt, India have the best opening combination in ODIs among all the teams in the world, thanks to the presence of three of the most consistent batsmen going around at the moment.
Unfortunately, only two out of the three batsmen can find a place at the top of the order in the Indian playing XI. Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice to open in ODIs, thanks to his performances over the last few years.
Shikhar Dhawan has been Rohit's first-choice opening partner and the southpaw has been in good knick, scoring heavily in the Champions Trophy and in Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, he was forced to miss the ODI series against Australia and in his place, Ajinkya Rahane opened the innings with Rohit and scored four fifties in four consecutive matches.
Ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand, Rohit's opening partner still remains a mystery. The Indian cricket team has always favoured first-choice players even if the replacements have done well. Going by that, Dhawan is likely to open the batting with Rohit.