IND vs SL ODI Series 2023: India's predicted XI against Sri Lanka for 1st ODI

Team India won the T20I series 2-1.

India Team
India Team. (Photo Source: BCCI/Twitter)
Koustav Sengupta

Jr. Staff Writer

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After a sensational victory in the T20I series, the Indian team is all set to host Sri Lanka for a three-match ODI series starting January 10.

This series will also mark the return of senior cricketers like skipper Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and KL Rahul among a few others to the team. Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah, who was a last-minute entrant, has been ruled out of the series as BCCI has decided not to rush the cricketer into immediate action.

It will be interesting to see if the team management backs KL Rahul in the middle order or if he will be promoted in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence. The bowling combination in the Indian conditions is another such factor that remains to be seen.

Thus, the question remains, what will be the right combination for the team in the opening match of the series? Without further ado, let’s jump straight to the topic.

India's Predicted playing XI for the first ODI against Sri Lanka:

Openers – Shubman Gill, Rohit Sharma (C)

Skipper Rohit Sharma has made it absolutely clear that they will open with Shubman Gill ahead of Ishan Kishan despite Ishan's jaw-dropping display with the bat in his last ODI outing. Hence, Shubman who has aggregated 687 runs at an average of 57.25, including one century and four fifties will be seen partnering Rohit at the top and would like to cement his spot with the World Cup in eyesight.

India captain Rohit Sharma was pretty average in the 2022 calendar year. That needs to change massively as he is a very important player in this format of the game. Being the captain, Rohit needs to lead by example and that hasn’t been the case recently. However, given his record, the 35-year-old can destroy any opponent on his day and the Indian fans will be hoping to see some of it in the upcoming ODI series.

Middle Order - Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk)

India’s batting maestro Virat Kohli had a stellar end to 2022. He was India’s leading run-scorer in the T20 World Cup and also scored a brilliant century against Bangladesh in the last ODI series. For India to do well in the upcoming ODI World Cup, ‘King’ Kohli needs to carry this form and absolutely wreak havoc against every opponent.

Shreyas Iyer finished 2022 as India’s leading run-scorer across formats. He has been exceptional so far and will play a massive role for the Men in Blue in the middle order. He, however, needs to keep up his excellent form as a quality player like Suryakumar Yadav is waiting in the wings for an opportunity.

After having an average season in the calendar year 2022, wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul was dropped as the vice-captain of the side. His position in the playing XI is a matter of discussion as well since the cricketer has failed to prove himself in recent times. Rahul certainly needs to pull up his socks if he wants to be in the reckoning for the ODI World Cup.

All-rounders - Hardik Pandya (c), Axar Patel, Washington Sundar

After proving his credentials as a quality leader, the team management promoted Hardik Pandya as the vice-captain of the ODI side. Being the only pace bowling all-rounder in the side, Hardik is a very important member of the squad. 

He can change the complexion of the game any time and can also give crucial breakthroughs when needed. However, the cricketer is also prone to injuries and thus the team management needs to manage his workload accordingly.

Axar Patel was terrific for India in the recently concluded T20I series. If he manages to continue his performances, Axar can very well challenge Ravindra Jadeja for a position in the playing XI. When it comes to Washington Sundar, he is going to play to provide some added batting depth. He is flexing with both his batting and bowling and thus, can be a vital player in the first ODI.

Bowlers - Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj

The pace twin of Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj will lead the bowling unit. Shami, who was out due to an injury, will make his return to the squad while Siraj, who is playing some good cricket of late will be assisting the veteran.

In 2022, Siraj picked up 24 wickets in 15 ODIs and thus, would aim to replicate something similar. He will also have to do well on a consistent basis in order to cement his position for the ODI World Cup. After all, players like Arshdeep Singh, Umran Malik and Prasidh Krishna are waiting in the wings.

This series can very well be Yuzvendra Chahal’s last chance to prove himself. He has been pretty ordinary in recent times and especially with Kuldeep Yadav in good form, Chahal needs to raise his game. 

Predicted playing XI of India - Rohit Sharma (c), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj

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