Virat Kohli set to take over as skipper for England ODIs – what will be his team?

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Australia v India - Game 4
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 20: Virat Kohli of India looks on during the Victoria Bitter One Day International match between Australia and India at Manuka Oval on January 20, 2016 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)

The news of MS Dhoni’s resignation from captaincy dominated headlines. As the dust gradually settles, the Indian selectors will meet to pick the One-Day International (ODI) squad for the upcoming battle against England. These games will be crucial for India as they are the last three ODIs before the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. The last series against New Zealand saw them resting a few players and one could anticipate something similar for the upcoming clash. For starters, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Shami have been in the injury list. Fitness permitting, they could be picked unless the team management doesn’t want to risk them.

The openers

KL Rahul should be picked as an opening batsman with both Rohit and Rahane doubtful. Rahul has discovered his prowess in the short formats this year and should be an automatic pick. Shikhar Dhawan has been an important cog in India’s one-day side for a few years and he returned from injury by playing for Delhi. He too should be selected. A report in the Indian Express stated that along with Dhawan, Karun Nair too could be a possible selection.

The middle-order

Some may feel that Virat Kohli needs a rest but he should play this series as he is expected to take over as captain. Manish Pandey will be another walk-in. Kedar Jadhav did well against New Zealand and should retain his place in the team. Mandeep Singh is another player who was a part of the side during the series against New Zealand but did not get a hit. He too may be retained. Suresh Raina, who couldn’t play against New Zealand due to an illness, could also be considered. Raina and Mandeep may compete for that spot in the side.

Post captaincy, Dhoni enters a new phase in his career and may find a different role in the side.

The spinners

Ravindra Jadeja did not play a lot of ODIs in 2016, but has done a lot of bowling in the recently-concluded Test series. He may be given a break. Ashwin missed out on his Ranji Trophy games for Tamil Nadu and the selectors will want to be cautious in using him. Axar and Jayant too are injured!

So, that leaves the selectors with Amit Mishra to lead the spinners. Mishra did a splendid job against New Zealand and deserves the spot. The question would be about his partner. Would they want to pick a Yuzvendra Chahal, a leg-spinner? There are also options in left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem, who has finished yet another season with over 50 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. Kuldeep Yadav’s chinaman also presents a tempting option.

The all-rounder

Hardik Pandya is back playing as he turned up for Reliance One in the Dr DY Patil T20 Tournament in Mumbai.

Fast bowlers

Jasprit Bumrah has been consistent for India since his debut last year. He also played a crucial role in Gujarat’s recent victory against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy semi-final. If fit, Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be in the selector’s radar. Umesh Yadav is another bowler with a strong chance. Dhawal Kulkarni was a part of the side for the series against New Zealand but has only played two matches for Mumbai since.

Possible India side for the England series: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Amit Mishra, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Kuldeep Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Suresh Raina/Mandeep Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem