India will be keen to accommodate both Suryakumar and Pant; Rohit and Dhawan to open; Wood has to fire for England in the absence of Archer
At a time when the cricket calendar around the globe is striving to make every international series relevant, you may wonder whether a one-day series sandwiched between a T20I series and the Indian Premier League — that too with the World Test Championship final and the T20 World Cup to follow later in the year — would attract interest from the fans.
While spectators will not be allowed for the matches in the wake of surge in COVID-19 cases in and around Pune, both India and England will have plenty of reasons to try and outperform each other in the three-match series, starting on Tuesday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium here.
Virat Kohli’s Men in Blue, after taming the No. 1-ranked T20 side 3-2, will hope to repeat the feat against the reigning World champion side in ODIs. For England, the series will provide a chance to stamp its supremacy and avenge the narrow loss in the T20I series.
With Pune experiencing unseasonal showers over the last couple of days, it will certainly impact conditions a bit. But it’s the cloud of T20 World Cup that’s hovering over the team managements with both captains hinting that the series will present an opportunity to test newer players with an eye on the mega event to be played in India in October-November.
India will be hoping to accommodate Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant in its starting line-up. While Suryakumar made an excellent impact on debut in the T20I series, Pant has done very well with the willow and behind the wickets ever since he was excluded from India’s squad for its last ODI series in Australia towards the end of 2020.
With Kohli confirming Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan set to continue their successful partnership at the top and the captain and Shreyas Iyer certainties in the middle-order, if Suryakumar and Pant are to be included, it will have to be at the expense of K.L. Rahul.
The Karnataka batsman had an impressive outing as a batsman-wicketkeeper in 2020, but lost his touch in the T20I series against England.
It will be interesting to see him M. Prasidh Krishna, the speedster who has been closely monitored by Kohli for the T20 World Cup, will earn a debut on Tuesday.
With Jofra Archer out of the series owing to fitness concerns, England will hope Mark Wood to be at his best if its attack has to pose questions of a strong batting line-up. England will also be without Joe Root, who has been given a break. Liam Livingstone could be handed an ODI debut.
The teams (from):
India: Virat Kohli (Capt.), Rohit Sharma (Vice-capt.), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wk), K.L. Rahul (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, T. Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna and Shardul Thakur.
England: Eoin Morgan (Capt.), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Sam Billings (wk), Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley and Mark Wood.
Officials: Umpires: Nitin Menon & Anil Chaudhary; Match referee: Javagal Srinath.
Match starts at 1.30 p.m.
Live on Star Sports.