With Dhawan set to take his opening place, KL Rahul may go back to No.4 as Pandey, Iyer eye middle-order slots in today’s first ODI v West Indies
Providence (Guyana): With an air of invincibility, India return to the format that gave them a heartbreak in the not-too-distant past, facing West Indies in the first of three-match ODI series here today. Shikhar Dhawan makes a comeback in the format where he has been India’s third best player after skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma. With 17 hundreds in 130 ODIs, Dhawan will rightfully take his place at the top of the order alongside Rohit and like the initial matches of the World Cup, KL Rahul is likely to go back to being the number four batsman. With Kedar Jadhav expected to come in at No 5 or 6 depending on how Rishabh Pant is used as a floater, it will be a toss up between Manish Pandey and Shreyas Iyer for the remaining middle-order slots.
No shortage of flair
Both are players with a certain amount of flair but Pandey couldn’t exactly seal it in the T20 Internationals and it’s time the team management thinks of giving Iyer a go and see how it pans out. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar playing three T20 Internationals in a week across two countries, he will probably get to cool his heels with Mohammed Shami leading the attack and Navdeep Saini making his ODI debut. Entering the 2019 ICC World Cup as firm favourites, India’s hopes were dashed following their semifinal defeat to a New Zealand outfit, which raised its game to another level. However, Virat Kohli’s men regrouped and quickly regained their mojo, effecting a 3-0 whitewash of West Indies in the just-concluded three-match T20 series.
Kohli, who also enjoyed a great run in the mega event, will not be short on motivation despite the lack of world beaters in the opposition camp. The batting mainstay is also aware that a section of former players raised question mark around his captaincy in the limited overs format. It pained him that one bad outing, after a dominant run, put paid to his team’s hopes in the World Cup. While the stage in the Caribbean islands is no match to the one at the World Cup, Kohli will still be too pleased with a commanding performance by his team.