The Indian team will be hoping to get their XI right from the first ODI itself, a mistake that they probably made during the Test series, not getting their XI right, until the final Test.
Virat Kohli has hinted that Ajinkya Rahane could slot into that number 4 role, and is not India’s back up opener anymore.
Kohli did not give out much about the XI in the pre-match press conference, but said that the Indian side are focussed on the series and will be hoping to get an overseas ODI series win.
Here is what India’s XI could be:
Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will be opening the batting for India, with the duo having had a lot of success in the ODI format in home and overseas conditions.
The duo did not have a very memorable Test series and would be hoping to make amends in the ODI series.
Dhawan could manage just 12 runs the last time he played an ODI series in South Africa. But going by his recent form, Virat Kohli and India would be hoping that Dhawan can provide them good starts at the top of the order.
Virat Kohli will be returning to ODI cricket after having opted out of the Sri Lanka limited overs series due to his wedding commitments. Kohli will also be leading the side in the series.
The number 4 slot has been much debated about and India have tried a lot of players in that positions after the 2015 WC, and it seems like they will be going back to Rahane for it.
In the press conference, Kohli said that the team management felt that Rahane was perfect for the role in overseas conditions, as he he has a knack of playing seamers very well.
MS Dhoni should come in at 5 in order to maximise his output for the team. He will also be keeping wickets and will provide Kohli with some much needed experience of leading an Indian side in overseas conditions.
Kedar Jadhav has been deployed in various roles over the past year, but with Rahane back to number 4, Jadhav will have to settle for the finisher’s role. Pandey and DK have also been vying for that number 6 spot, but will have to miss out as they can’t roll their arm over, and India would need Jadhav to fill in as the 6th bowler.
Hardik Pandya will be India’s all-rounder and will have the responsibility of utilising the seamer friendly conditions and using the long handle during the death overs.
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are automatic choices having performed so well for India in the past 12 months.
India would be going with 3 first string seamers in this tour(keeping the conditions in mind), and hence Mohammad Shami would be back into the ODI mix, for the first time since the 2015 World Cup.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been India’s best spinner in the last 18 months, and thus he should be picked ahead of Kuldeep Yadav.