India has played their last three ODI series against West Indies, Zimbabwe, and South Africa without their senior players and they are now all set to go into the India Vs New Zealand ODI series without the senior players again, as Shikhar Dhawan will captain the men in blue in the absence of the regular captain Rohit Sharma.
Here is the strongest XI of India for the first match of the India Vs New Zealand ODI series –
Openers (Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill)
Since Shubman Gill has performed consistently at the top of the order in the absence of the seniors, there is no doubt that he will be partnering with Shikhar Dhawan at the top again and he will try to maintain the standard of his performances so that he can be considered for selection even when the senior players return to the team.
Shikhar Dhawan, although he is the captain right now, still has to make sure he gets some scores under his belt because with Shubman Gill’s rise, Dhawan’s spot is under the scanner.
Middle Order (Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav)
Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav would probably also be a part of India’s first choice playing XI and the last time when India’s first choice ODI XI played an ODI series against England, these two batted at no. 4 and 5. These are the same spots Pant and SKY will be occupying in the India Vs New Zealand ODI series as well.
Shreyas Iyer is a back-up for Virat Kohli at the no. 3 slot in India’s ODI plans and he will be batting one down in the first ODI against the Kiwis with Kohli being rested.
All-rounders (Deepak Hooda, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar)
Apart from being the finishers with the bat, Hooda and Shahbaz will most likely be forming the spin duo of the team as well. Hooda’s off spin bowling in the T20I series must have given the team management enough confidence to look at him as an all-rounder and Shahbaz is in the team as the designated all-rounder anyway.
Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur can play some big shots down the order and they can also swing the ball upfront, although Thakur is supposed to be India’s fourth seamer.
Bowlers (Arshdeep Singh, Kuldeep Sen)
Arshdeep and Kuldeep might play in the capacity of specialist bowlers, but their roles will be slightly different. Arshdeep is likely to pair up with Deepak Chahar upfront to swing the new ball, while Kuldeep might be the middle over enforcer for India because of his high pace. Both these bowlers might also bowl in the death overs.