India start their preparation for the ODI World Cup later in the year with a three-match series against Sri Lanka, starting on Tuesday at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will be back in the team but what will hurt the side is the fact that its ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah is still not match-fit. The player was earlier included in the updated squad for Sri Lanka ODIs but his name was withdrawn on Monday over ‘fitness concerns’.
On the eve of the match, Rohit Sharma declared that Ishan Kishan will warm the bench to provide Shubman Gill a “fair run”. On the other hand, it will be Shreyas Iyer who will be looking to get a spot in India’s middle-order.
Here is what we think could be India’s playing XI vs Sri Lanka in the first ODI –
Rohit Sharma (c): The Indian skipper will be returning in the team after being absent in the T20I series against Sri Lanka in which Hardik Pandya led the side. He will aim to show some consistency with the bat, besides leading the team.
Shubman Gill: Ishan Kishan will have to warm the bench as it will be Shubman Gill, who will be the opening partner of Rohit Sharma. Given Kishan hit a 210 off 131 balls in his last ODI innings, there will be an added pressure on Gill to perform well.
Virat Kohli: He now has the second-highest number of international hundreds (72), being only behind the great Sachin Tendulkar. Kohli would look to start the new year with some added energy and runs under his belt before India go into the World Cup.
Suryakumar Yadav: The maestro is batting with a sublime touch. He had hit a 51-ball unbeaten 112 – his third T20I century – in the recently-concluded third and decisive T20I vs Sri Lanka. He will look to carry his red-hot form to the ODI format as well.
Hardik Pandya: The new vice-captain’s bowling skills will also come in handy, but for someone who missed more than a year due to back injury in the lead-up to IPL 2022, it remains to be seen how many overs the skipper gets out from India’s premier all-rounder.
Axar Patel: The star all-rounder is improving his performance with every passing game. He was already good as an orthodox spinner, but his batting potential is giving the team some great balance in absence of key player Ravindra Jadeja.
Mohammed Siraj: The right-arm pacer has become India’s one of the most reliable bowlers with the new ball. Swing added with some fair amount of pace makes Siraj a superb bowler.
Arshdeep Singh: The left-arm pacer didn’t have a good T20I series against Sri Lanka. He will look to leave behind the demons, especially of the second T20I, and come back to his best form.
Mohammed Shami: The veteran pacer will have the responsibility to lead the young boys like Mohammad Siraj and Arshdeep Singh. Shami will also be looking to put a good show in 2023 to stay in strong contention for a berth in India’s World Cup squad.
Yuzvendra Chahal: The leg spinner will look to continue to believe in his game. Chahal performs well when he lures the batters to go for big ones. He is another key player for the side who needs to perform well.
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