Ind vs Aus 1st ODI: Check out the India’s predicted XI for opening ODI in Sydney

Ind vs Aus ODI series: Team India is set to return after staying away from international cricket for nearly nine months due to coronavirus pandemic, with a One Day International (ODI) series against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, starting November 27 (Friday).

Both teams are almost full-strength, however, the biggest concern for Team India will be the absence of opener and vice-captain Rohit Sharma, who is still under a yet-unresolved injury cloud.

Also Read: Ind vs Aus: 3 batsmen, 1 opening slot; Who will open with Shikhar Dhawan in 1st ODI?

But with several exciting top-order prospects, the Men in Blue look to have its bases covered in the batting department.

Here we take a look at Team India’s most likely starting XI for the opening ODI in Sydney.

Openers: Shikhar Dhawan and Mayank Agarwal
Dhawan was in fine form in IPL 2020 and the Delhi batsman smashed consecutive centuries in IPL 2020, thus becoming the only player to achieve the feat. He will be hoping to replicate his T20 form in the 50-over format. Having been part of the previous tours to Australia, Shikhar’s contribution will be vital for Team India.
Meanwhile, in the absence of Rohit, Mayank is favourite to open with Dhawan. The Bengaluru-lad has been in good touch and even scored a century in the recently concluded season of the IPL. Also, Mayank has an experience of playing in Australia which makes his case stronger.

Middle-order: Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (VC & WK)

Team India skipper will come out to bat at his usual position – no. 3, while Shreyas Iyer is likely to come out as no. 4 batsman as he has done well in this position in the past. Meanwhile, KL Rahul, who generally prefers to play as an opener, might come down to bat at no. 5 to provide much-needed depth to India’s batting line-up and finish games if needed.

Notably, KL Rahul was the highest scorer in IPL 2020 where he played as an opener for KXIP. Hence, Team India could as well play KL alongside Shikhar at the top and allow Manish Pandey to take his natural position at No.5 and if Rahul moves to the top order, Pandey can potentially get a go.

All-rounders: Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja

Hardik Pandya’s return from injury means that he will automatically take up his spot at No.6. In terms of roles and dependencies, nothing much would change for Hardik. However, since he didn’t bowl a single over in IPL 13, it needs to be seen if Team India would make any modifications to this spot going forward. But considering his fielding and finishing skills, the team management is likely to pick Pandya even if he chooses to not to bowl.

At No.7, the management has no choice but to play Ravindra Jadeja. He is the only confirmed all-rounder in the squad and hence, Jaddu comes into the playing XI. Jadeja has worked on his batting abilities and struck the ball at over 200 at the death in IPL 2020. However, he needs to pick wickets in the middle-overs to make an impact.

Bowlers: Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Yuzvendra Chahal
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami will as usual leading the pace unit for Team India, while Saini’s extra pace puts him ahead of Shardul Thakur in the pecking order. Moreover, Saini has displayed much-improved line and lengths in recent times, and that’s the reason he is likely to make it to the playing XI.

Meanwhile, Yuzvendra Chahal will play as the lead spinner as he has been much better than Kuldeep Yadav in limited-overs format in recent times.

Team India’s predicted playing XI for the first ODI against Australia: Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul (VC & WK), Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Yuzvendra Chahal.