Indian Cricket team. (Photo source: BCCI)
After claiming the Test series against Australia for the fourth successive time, the Men in Blue will take on the Aussies in the first of three ODIs at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on Friday, March 17. With regular skipper Rohit Sharma unavailable for the series opener, Hardik Pandya will be leading the side against the tourists.
Even though the home side completed a memorable clean sweep against the Kiwis in an ODI series earlier this year, they will be wary of Steve Smith’s visiting Australian side. Several Indian players will be eager to impress in the upcoming series with the 50-over World Cup scheduled to be hosted in the subcontinent later this year.
Here’s India’s predicted XI in the 1st ODI against Australia:
Openers – Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk)
India’s dashing opener Shubman Gill has been in the form of his life since the turn of the year and reminded people of his exploits with a brilliant ton against Australia in Ahmedabad in his last outing. He has registered three centuries in his last four ODI appearances for India in 2023 and will be hoping to continue his exceptional run with the bat in Mumbai.
While Gill has been revelling at the top of the order, Ishan Kishan has failed to impress in his recent outings for the national team. His record-breaking 210 against Bangladesh in December 2022 seems like a distant memory right now as the southpaw is struggling for runs in white-ball cricket.
Middle Order – Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav
The former Indian skipper finally brought an end to his century drought in the longest format of the game after punishing the Aussies on a batting-friendly surface in Ahmedabad. He will have to anchor the Indian innings in the absence of skipper Rohit Sharma, something he is well adept at doing in ODIs.
An unfortunate injury to Shreyas Iyer has reopened the doors for Suryakumar Yadav in the ODI team. The no.1 T20I batter in the world has failed to replicate his form in the longer formats of the game and he will be hoping to enhance his reputation in the 50-over format in the upcoming series against the Aussies.
All-rounder: Hardik Pandya (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur
Flamboyant Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be leading the side in the ODI series opener against Australia in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma. While his personal form has dipped a bit in the last couple of series, his captaincy skills have come to the fore for the Men in Blue in crucial matches.
The upcoming series against Australia will be Ravindra Jadeja’s first white-ball assignment since his return from a long-term injury. The left-arm spinner, who shared the player of the series award with Ravichandran Ashwin after the conclusion of the Test series, will be looking to replicate the same form in the 50-over format.
Washington Sundar is another cricketer in a long list of spin-bowling all-rounders for India in the shorter formats of the game. The 23-year-old off-spinner from Tamil Nadu was impressive in India’s white-ball assignment against New Zealand earlier this year and will be looking to stake a claim for a spot in the squad for the 50-over World Cup later this year.
He might not be the most glamorous cricketer out there, but Shardul Thakur finds a way to impact games more often than not for India. The bowling all-rounder was one of the protagonists for the Men in Blue in their exciting ODI series victory against the Kiwis, as it was his clutch performance in the ODI series opener that laid the foundation for a clean sweep of the Blackcaps.
Bowlers – Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj
Kuldeep Yadav is another Indian cricketer who has found a new lease of life ever since returning to the national setup after last year’s IPL. The left-arm spinner has scalped 11 wickets in his last five appearances in ODIs and was one of India’s better performers with the ball against the Kiwis in January.
Veteran Indian pacer Mohammed Shami is showing no signs of slowing down as the 32-year-old was at his usual best in the recently concluded Test series against Australia. He has the responsibility of leading the lines for the Men in Blue in the upcoming series and will play a crucial role with the new ball.
The recently crowned no.1 ODI bowler in the world, Mohammed Siraj is India’s trump card in the 50-over format. While his tenacity with the new ball always troubles the opposition batters, he has also improved his death bowling significantly to hand India a lethal option in the latter stages of matches.
Probable team India playing XI- India: Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj