India and England are set to take each other on in a three-match ODI series in Pune starting on Tuesday (March 23). Key players like Jofra Archer, Joe Root, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah are missing but plenty of experienced and new players are in the store for this series.
A look at some of the key players.
Shikhar Dhawan: Prior to the T20I series, Virat Kohli said Dhawan will be the third choice opener for the format. He played the first match of the series and failed, and was dropped promptly. Now with the likes of Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav impressing, and Kohli himself saying he wants to open in T20Is, it remains to be seen what happens to Dhawan’s T20I career.
But no such problems exist for Dhawan in ODIs. “As far as the opening partnership is concerned, Shikhar and Rohit will definitely start. When it comes to ODI cricket, I don’t think there is any issue or doubt over Rohit or Shikhar opening together. They have been amazing for us in the past few years,” said Kohli while speaking to the media in the pre-match media interaction.
Dhawan’s ODIs performance has been good although he has only played nine ODIs since June 2019, after sustaining thumb injury during a World Cup match against Australia and also because of the Covid-19 pandemic. In two of those he did not bat, including once due to another injury.
He has got scores of 2, 36, 74, 96, 74, 30 and 16 in the seven times he has batted, averaging 46.85.
The captain was the man of the series in the T20Is, getting back to his absolute best striking cleanly and playing anchor for India. Now he will look to cash in on his form in his most prolific format – he has over 12000 runs in ODIs and 43 centuries.
But Kohli last made an international century in 2019; it’s been a while and he will want to end the drought of tons. The last time India played an ODI against England in Pune, Kohli made a stellar ton in a huge chase. A repeat is what he’ll be aiming.
15 runs from 4 matches, including 2 ducks. That was Rahul’s woeful T20I series, which ended with him losing his place in the XI. And with Kohli expressing his desire to open, Rahul will perhaps be fighting for a spot in the World Cup too.
Rahul will perhaps get a chance to get back among the runs in ODIs. He has off late been used as a middle order batsman, and Rahul has adapted superbly with consistent scores. He even made a 70 odd in the second ODI against Australia recently.
It remains to be seen if Rahul will continue as wicketkeeper given Rishabh Pant might be back.
A lot of experts, including Kevin Pietersen, were of the opinion that England were wasting Ben Stokes at No. 6 in T20 cricket. Stokes could make little impact in that position in the T20I series, which India won 3-2.
In the ODIs, it’s a different story altogether as Stokes is one of their key players. Incredibly enough, Stokes’ last ODI was the World Cup final in July 2019, where he was England’s hero. He’ll be eager to make a mark once again.