India vs England 1st ODI: Focus on Dhawan as Kohli eyes winning start

India captain Virat Kohli confirmed that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will continue to open the batting with him and Shreyas Iyer forming the core of the middle-order.

With some of India's youngsters, the likes of Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal starting to show promise, Dhawan will need to take any chances that come his way- AP

At a time when the cricket calendar around the globe is striving to make every international series relevant, you may wonder whether an ODI 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, would attract fans.

While the fans in the education and IT hub will be deprived of enjoying the game from the stands as the matches will be held behind closed doors to curb the rising cases of COVID-19 in this part of Maharashtra.

But 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.

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After beating the No.1 T20I side in the shortest format, Virat Kohli’s side will hope to repeat the feat against the World Cup champion.

With Pune experiencing unseasonal showers over the last couple of days, it will certainly impact the conditions. 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 in October.

India will be hoping to accommodate Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant in its starting line-up. While Suryakumar made the most of his prolonged wait for a maiden India cap with impressive outings in the T20I series, Pant has been instrumental with the willow and behind the wickets since the tour of Australia.

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Kohli confirmed that Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan will continue to open the batting with him and Shreyas Iyer forming the core of the middle-order. If Suryakumar and Pant is included in the XI, it could be at the expense of K.L. Rahul.

Rahul had an impressive outing as a wicketkeeper-batsman in 2020 but having lost his touch in the T20I series, he is far from being a certainty in the starting line-up.

It will be interesting to see if M. Prasidh Krishna, who Kohli has been eyeing for the T20 World Cup, earns a debut.

England, meanwhile, will be hoping to not miss Jofra Archer’s reliable pace. An elbow injury has ruled Archer out of the series, so Mark Wood will have to be at his best. Even Joe Root has been rested.

Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone is likely to earn his debut cap.

Teams (From): India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), KL Rahul (wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Krunal Pandya, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Shardul Thakur.

England: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Livingstone, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood. Covers: Jake Ball, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan.

Match starts at 1.30pm.