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5 Key players to watch out for in the India v Sri Lanka ODI series

While Team India is a much more settled and solid unit, Sri Lanka is far more inexperienced and lack teal match winners.

Rohit Sharma India v Sri Lanka
Rohit Sharma. (Photo Source: Twitter)

After a hard-fought Test series where Sri Lanka managed to save two matches defying all the odds, losing just one the focus now shifts to limited-overs cricket as the ODI series gets underway at Dharamsala. This will also be a 3-match series and on paper, the two teams again look a mismatch.

While Team India is a much more settled and solid unit, Sri Lanka is far more inexperienced and lack teal match winners. However, they can’t be taken for granted as they had pushed the hosts on the back foot a couple of times in the ODI series back home. Here are the 5 players to watch out for in the upcoming series:

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1. Rohit Sharma

Rohit will be captaining the Indian team in the absence of Virat Kohli who is on a break. This will be a good opportunity for him to show his leadership skills at the international level. He has had a great time as captain in the IPL where he guided Mumbai Indians to the title three times, the most by any captain in the history of the tournament.

Since he has become the captain of Mumbai Indians, Rohit has shown more responsibility as a batsman, not just for Mumbai, but for India as well. He is one of those players who like that extra responsibility and that actually enhances his game. He would be looking forward to this challenge of leading the national team and leading from the front.

So it’s clear that he is one of those players who like that extra responsibility and that actually enhances his game. He would be looking forward to this challenge of leading the national team and leading from the front.

2. MS Dhoni

While MS Dhoni has been a great servant of Indian cricket over the years, there is no denying the fact that he has reached the twilight of his career and many have started doubting his place in the Indian limited-over teams. While he still remains a force to reckon with in ODI cricket, he didn’t particularly have a great series against New Zealand.

Last season, the Indian think-tank had used him slightly up the order as he had batted at no. 5, but he has again been dropped down to no. 6 of late and is expected to bat at the same position against Sri Lanka too. He would want to show the same efficiency with the bat that he had shown in the away series against Sri Lanka where he had dug India out of the worrisome situations a couple of times.

3. Shreyas Iyer

Iyer is expected to make his debut in the series. He is someone who is rated very highly in Mumbai cricket and he showed the glimpses of his talent in the second T20I against New Zealand where he batted at no. 3 and struck five classy boundaries against quality Kiwi fast bowlers before being dismissed by the part-timer Collin Munro.

He is likely to bat at 3 in Virat Kohli’s absence and will have to make most of the opportunity to make sure he presents a strong case of being retained in the XI even after the return of the regular skipper. Iyer is an aggressive player who likes to play his shots, but he is certainly not a pinch hitter and has it in him to anchor the innings. He would be eyeing a hundred in one of the three games if he gets a go.

4. Upul Tharanga

Tharanga has been sacked as Sri Lanka captain after back to back whitewashes against India and Pakistan and he would be keen to make a statement. While the Sri Lankan batting failed horribly against Pakistan, the veteran left-hander was the only one who showed some resilience. His knock of 112 in the second ODI in Abu Dhabi was absolutely fantastic and had the tail-enders hung around with him for a little longer, he perhaps would have dragged Sri Lanka over the line.

Now that he has been relieved from captaincy, Tharanga will play with less pressure and will like to score some big ones at the top of the order to set a platform for the team.

5. Akila Dhananjaya

Dhananjaya was very impressive with the ball in the home series against India. His devastating spell in the second ODI in Pallekele almost won Sri Lanka the game before MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar got together and stitched a gritty partnership to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Dhananjaya, although an off-spinner, bowls a very effective googly which is difficult to read out of his hands and he bowls it stump to stump to make sure once the batsman misses the line, he hits the timber. While the 24-year old couldn’t replicate similar success against Pakistan, he would like to regain his touch against India and make a mark yet again.

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