With India all set to take on Australia in a five-match ODI series starting on September 17, the series promises to be a riveting contest. The last time Australia came to India for an ODI series, it was a run-feast and the one on offer doesn't look any different with pitches to be on the expected lines of being flat, with hardly anything for the faster bowlers although the spinners might come into play as the game progresses with a bit of wear and tear of the track. With the home team boasting players of great skill, both with the bat and ball, here is a look at the players to watch out for the upcoming series that kicks off at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Rohit Sharma: The Indian opener had a very good run in the shorter format of the game against Sri Lanka. Having scored two centuries and a fifty, Rohit would be looking forward to the series against Australia.
There is hardly a better sight in world cricket than watching Rohit in full flow and his good form would be ideal for the home side to get off to a great start and set the tone for the rest of the games.
Virat Kohli: The Indian skipper has been in ominous touch in the past couple of years and brought up his 30th ODI century against Sri Lanka in the previous series, equalling the great Ricky Ponting with only Sachin Tendulkar ahead of him who has scored 49 ODI centuries. Kohli would be looking to get past Ponting at the earliest and the kind of the form he is in, it is only a matter of time before he does.
If the Aussies have to entertain any thoughts of winning the series, it will be imperative for them to get rid of the Indian skipper as early as possible before the master chaser takes the game away from them.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: There has been a lot of talk around Mahendra Singh Dhoni's place in the team and whether or not he can make it to the 2019 World Cup. Well, for the time being, all that can be put to rest as the former India captain showed glimpses of his calm demeanour in the series against Sri Lanka, bailing India out of trouble on more than one occasion.
His glovework behind the stumps has been exemplary and those quick hands might well be in display again in this series that can only go on to add to his tally of stumpings. If Kohli doesn't get you, Dhoni will, and Australia will have to bring their 'A' game to the table in order to be competitive in the series.
Hardik Pandya: The young all-rounder from Baroda has come of age in the last one year or so and his skills, both with the bat and ball has been more than impressive in all formats of the game. Pandya bowls a heavy ball and at times can surprise the batsman with his pace and an odd short ball that can get you.
The 23-year-old can use the long handle to good effect and can clear the fence at ease. Pandya can be the surprise package in the series and might turn a few matches in India's favour with his all-round skills.
Kuldeep Yadav: In his short stint in international cricket, Kuldeep Yadav has made quite a name for himself. While the first choice spinners might be Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal in the line-up, in a five-match series, Kuldeep will get his opportunity, especially with India bending more towards rotating their players with an eye on the 2019 World Cup.
The chinaman bowler hailing from Kanpur turned the Dharamsala Test against the same opponents earlier this year in his debut Test. While most of the Aussies failed to pick his wrong one, Kuldeep will be aware of that fact and will be licking his fingers to bowl at some of the Aussies who are traditionally not great players of spin.