1st ODI: Kohli-led India braces up to face England

Much of the focus during India’s series-opening One-Day International against England in Pune will be on M. S. Dhoni, who for the first time in more than nine years will feature in an ODI as only a wicketkeeper-batsman and not as the captain. Sunday will also give a hint of whether the new captain Virat Kohli would want to adopt a different strategy than his predecessor.

Virat Kohli (left) and M. S. Dhoni (right) at a training session in Pune ahead of the first ODI.   -  PTI

The first big festival of the year will be followed by India’s first international cricket match of the year. While much of the focus during India’s series-opening One-Day International (ODI) against England will be on M. S. Dhoni, who for the first time in more than nine years will feature in an ODI as only a wicketkeeper-batsman and not as the captain, Sunday will also give a hint of whether Virat Kohli would want to adopt a different strategy than his predecessor.

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It will be interesting to see if India’s team at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium includes three specialist pacers – in addition to Hardik Pandya as all-rounder – and either R. Ashwin or Ravindra Jadeja or if he prefers to play both the specialist spinners at the expense of one of his express pacers.

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If Kohli sticks to the former option, there would be little to choose between his style of captaincy in the blue jersey to that of Dhoni. But if he decides to play both the spinners, it would mean that Kohli along with the management would expect Pandya to pitch in handily, with Yuvraj Singh and Kedar Jadhav – if picked ahead of Manish Pandey – as back-up options to fill in the quota of the fifth bowler.

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The teams (from)

India: Virat Kohli (c), K. L. Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, R. Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jake Ball, David Willey, Chris Woakes.