India Predicted XI For 1st ODI vs South Africa: A Debut Likely In KL Rahul's First Outing As India's White-Ball Captain
India vs South Africa 1st ODI: Sandwiched between why did Kohli quit and who will take over India's red-ball mantle is the three-match ODI series against South Africa, beginning from Wednesday. And the ODIs promise no less action
- Rahul will have the opportunity to lead India in the ODIs
- ODI series was supposed to be Rohit's 1st series as white-ball captain
- The first ODI will be played in Paarl from January 19
It has only been four days since India lost the Test series to South Africa after failing to defend 212 in the third and final Test in Cape Town but some dramatic events have taken place in between that it feels like ages ago. A day after India's defeat, Virat Kohli decided to step down as India's Test captain in a stunning announcement on social media. Sandwiched between why did Kohli quit and who will take over India's red-ball mantle in the three-match ODI series against South Africa, beginning from Wednesday. And the ODIs promise no less action.
This was supposed to be Rohit Sharma's first assignment as India's full-time ODI captain but the right-hander failed to recover from a hamstring injury. Within a space of couple of weeks, KL Rahul, who has captained in only first-class match till now, will have the opportunity to lead India in both Tests and ODIs.
Rahul made his debut as India captain after a back spasm sidelined Kohli for the second Test in Johannesburg and now the Karnataka right-hander is set to lead the Indian ODI team for the first time.
Lot of questions, anticipation and a whole lot of excitement is set to greet the fans as India begin their 2023 World Cup preparations in Paarl on Wednesday.
Here is India's Predicted XI for the first ODI against South Africa:
KL Rahul: Big moment in KL Rahul's career. The 29-year-old will lead India for the first time in ODIs and has a chance to showcase his leadership skills. His job at the top of the order will also be immensely critical if India want to win the series in South Africa. In the absence of Rohit, India will be looking at Rahul for strong starts.
Shikhar Dhawan: If Rohit Sharma was fit, then chances are Dhawan wouldn't have boarded the South Africa-bound flight. It may sound harsh but perhaps that is the truth now. To be fair to Dhawan, he has been a stalwart for India in white-ball cricket, especially in the ODIs for the last 9-10 years but the advent of Rahul and host of other youngsters like Ishan Kishan, Ruturarj Gaikwad and Devdutt Padikkal have sort of pushed him down the pecking order. However, the left-hander has another opportunity to show the selectors that he still belongs in the Indian team.
Virat Kohli: This will be the first time in five years when a fully fit Virat Kohli won't be leading the Indian side despite being a part of the XI. A new chapter of Kohli the batter is set to begin at Paarl on Wednesday. Above anything, Kohli knows that he still is immensely important as a batter in the Indian set-up and he also knows that hasn't been at his best in the last couple of years.
Shreyas Iyer: The Mumbai right-hander's career graph too has seen on an upward curve in the last few months. From being a limited-overs specialist to getting picked in the Test side over Hanuma Vihari for the home series against New Zealand and then repaying the faith of the selectors by slamming a hundred on debut, Iyer has shown that he warrants a place in the Indian side in all formats. But first things first, he has a job to do at No.4 for India in the ODIs against South Africa.
Rishabh Pant: With all his flare, carefree and bold nature of batting, Pant has perhaps not yet achieved the highs in limited-overs cricket as was expected from him. The left-hander would be hoping to turn things around from the South Africa series onwards.
Suryakumar Yadav: A golden opportunity for Suryakumar Yadav to cement his spot in India's middle-order. He has been in and around the limited-overs set-up for the last 12 months or so and with two World Cups approaching, it is time he makes it count.
Venkatesh Iyer: With no Hardik Pandya in the mix (at least for now), Venkatesh Iyer is India's only designated seam-bowling all-rounder. Shardul Thakur might have an objection to that but No.7 in ODIs will perhaps be a little too high in the batting order for him. Iyer was in terrific form in the Vijay Hazare Trophy - India's domestic 50-overs tournament - and in the three T20Is he played against New Zealand, he showed that if given confidence he can develop into a future prospect for India. It shouldn't be surprising if Iyer makes his ODI debut on Wednesday. He does need to work on his bowling though.
Shardul Thakur: He has improved a lot with both the bat and ball and can be a crucial part of India's set-up going forward. Shardul has a knack of picking wickets when it matters the most and his ability to bowl different slower ones and knuckle balls give him an edge in the death overs.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The veteran off-spinner is set to play his first ODI in close to five years. Ashwin was not in the best of forms in the Test matches and would like to change that in the ODIs.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The experienced pacer, who has been one of the pillars of the Indian bowling attack in white-ball cricket for close to a decade now, has not been at his best in the past few series. Injuries, of course have played a role in it. But Bhuvneshwar would want to put his best foot forward in the series opener.
Jasprit Bumrah: India's vice-captain for these three ODIs has a lot of responsibilities on his shoulders. The fact that he is now a part of the leadership group is quite evident. His performance with the ball will be crucial for India in South Africa.