Team India will begin their preparations for the ODI World Cup next year on home soil with a 50-over series in New Zealand featuring three Indian players for whom the New Zealand ODIs could be defining. On Friday, November 25, Eden Park in Auckland will host the first of the three ODIs.
Indian captain Rohit Sharma, vice-captain KL Rahul, and former captain Virat Kohli are all out, so Shikhar Dhawan will be in charge. Mohammed Shami and Hardik Pandya, among others, have also been spared from this rubber.
In 2022, the T20 format has received the team’s primary focus. Expect the focus to shift primarily toward the 50-over format after the World Cup in the shortest format has concluded, with India hoping to repeat 2011 and win the title at home next year.
As a result, a few of India’s players may find their identity in the upcoming series against New Zealand. We’ll examine three of these names and discuss their potential uses:
Once more chief of the Indian group, everyone’s eyes will be on the veteran opener as he tries to put a dreary year so far behind him. For the record, Dhawan has scored 567 runs in 16 one-day internationals this year at an average of 40.50 and a strike rate of 74.60.
While the average is respectable, his strikeout rate and rustiness, which have been evident in the games he has played this year, are major red flags. Dhawan may not have the luxury of time when Shubman Gill repeatedly knocks on the door.
While Dhawan has been included and is expected to partner Rohit at the top, Gill has not been named for the ODI series in Bangladesh next month. However, with the ODI World Cup scheduled for the following year, a strong performance in New Zealand will further enhance his chances. The call to include Gill in the first XI will only grow louder after a disappointing series.
Another player whose career is at a crossroads right now is Yuzvendra Chahal. The leg spinner was innocuously left out of the T20 World Cup squad last year, but his declining returns this year prevented him from playing in the main event.
This year, he has had much better results in ODIs, taking 21 wickets in 11 matches at a strike rate of 26.7. However, since his resurgence, his partner-in-crime Kuldeep Yadav has appeared to be a better version of himself, taking 11 wickets in seven One-Day International matches at an economy rate below five.
There may only be one of them in India’s starting XI at the ODI World Cup next year. Neither has been included in the Bangladesh tour contingent, and Chahal has a chance to show New Zealand why he is India’s best bet to be the lead spinner for the prestigious event in the coming year.
He will face a significant obstacle in New Zealand’s narrow borders, but overcoming them might be the springboard that gets him back on track.
The ODIs in New Zealand could also be defining for Shreyas Iyer, which may come as a surprise. Despite the fact that his record in the format cannot be disputed, he cannot afford a quiet series due to the three-way battle for two middle-order spots.
Iyer has fond memories of New Zealand, where he scored his first international hundred and scored 217 runs in three matches in 2020. In terms of the ODI World Cup, he is a bankable option for the middle order due to his particular prowess against spin.
However, there does not appear to be a spot available for all three of them due to KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant’s respective success in the middle order. Iyer, whose average in the format this year is 60.75, will have a much better chance of making the first XI if he puts in another strong performance.
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