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India v Australia 2017, 1st ODI – India Predicted XI

Race between KL Rahul, Manish Pandey and Ajinkya Rahane in the batting line-up.

Virat Kohli India
Indian captain Virat Kohli celebrates with his teammates. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

The mother of all cricketing competitions, India vs Australia, finally resumes after a gap of five and a half months but this time in the form of limited overs cricket. The Kangaroos have their wounds fresh from the loss of Border-Gavaskar Trophy in March, while India would look to avenge their 4-1 loss in Australia during the 2015-16 season.

The stage is set for yet another riveting contest with a never-ending flow of passion, rage, sledges and controversies between the two International giants. Chennai will host the first of the five-match ODI series followed by the three T20 series. Also, it’s time for Virat Kohli locking horns with Steve Smith and Rohit Sharma facing off against David Warner.

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Few interesting statements, injuries, resting and selections already grabbed eyebrows prior to the series. This has made the race to the playing XI a little tricky for India. With the recent developments, let us look at the Predicted XI for the Indian Team.

Openers (Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma)

The captain of the Indian team revealed that Ajinka Rahane would be replacing Shikhar Dhawan in the opening slot to make Rahane’s role in the limited over format specific. Rahane has not been able to find his place in the ODI side despite brilliant performances in the middle order in the past.

But lately, Virat Kohli has made his role clear in the squad and it is that of the third opener. Rohit Sharma will yet again look to fill in his boot as he has a boastful record against the Australians. Rohit himself has been in good form as he smashed back to back tons against the Lankans.

Middle order (Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav)

Virat Kohli and Australia are set to meet again and somehow, Kohli goes that extra mile against his favourite opposition. This will the first time he will be captaining against Australia in coloured clothing. Last time around when Australians toured to compete in a limited over format, he helped India chase down 350+ twice.

Given the form Manish Pandey is in, there is no way he will be left out of the side against Australia. Which means KL Rahul has to sit out of the match with no position available at the opening slot. MS Dhoni, who is very close to a special landmark, i.e. 10,000 ODI runs, has been finishing well for India lately.

The whole Chennai Super Kings fan base would witness their ‘Thala’ bat at Chepauk. The other finisher, Kedar Jadhav, revived his confidence with his knock in the Final ODI and would look to impress yet again as he excels in Indian conditions.

If we take the Indian Top 6 into scrutiny, the only point of debate would be the absence of a left-handed batsman. This is where the Indian team would miss the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina, especially looking at Zampa at the other end.

All-rounders (Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja)

In recent developments, Axar Patel, who was impressive in the Sri Lankan series and was named ahead of Ravindra Jadeja for the Australian series, was pulled out of the first three ODIs due to strain. As it turns out, the selectors, after opting to ‘rest’ Ravindra Jadeja prior to the start of the high-octane series, recalled southpaw into the side.

Which means he would have to handle the all-rounder department along with Hardik Pandya. This gives Virat Kohli the desired balance into the side as well as a cushion with both bat and the ball.

Bowlers (Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav)

Jasprit Bumrah walks into the ODI side with 15 wickets behind him in the Sri Lankan series. Mohammed Shami ideally should be the partner of Bumrah with the new ball. The wrist spinner would look to chip away with wickets in the middle order and look to bamboozle Australians with his guile and the assistance offered by the track. Kuldeep proved a bit too tricky to handle for the Aussies on his Test debut and would want to repeat a similar performance in Chennai.

Kohli has always had the option of falling back on Kedar Jadhav who has a knack of breaking a partnership. All in all, the bowling reserves look deep along with the batting.

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