With cricket’s blue riband tournament scheduled to be held in UK next year, the ODI series will give Virat Kohli an ideal opportunity to get a drift about the conditions that his men are expected to encounter at exactly same time next year.
While India will be buoyed by its 2-1 T20 series win, England, the top ranked ODI team in world cricket, comes into the series having crushed a below-par Australia 6-0 in its last bilateral engagement.
England has been one of the finest 50 over sides in recent times and India will have its task cut out against a batting line-up comprising Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow and Eoin Morgan.
Add Ben Stokes to it and England bears a formidable look. It is a reputation built on fearless, attacking cricket that has seen England win 46 out of 69 ODIs since a disastrous 2015 World Cup.
Its last bilateral series’ defeat came in India in January 2017, with only a freak oneoff loss to Scotland in the interim. The series will also enable Indian team management to mix and match the various combinations, keeping World Cup in mind.
KL Rahul’s stupendous form has been a happy headache for the team management and there is a possibility that the captain might come at No 4 in order to give Rahul a chance to make optimum use of his current form. Rahul scored a 70 against Ireland and followed it by an unbeaten 101 against England in the first T20. He will, in all likelihood, be the missing jigsaw puzzle at the top of the order for skipper Kohli.
With both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma being automatic selections at the top of the order, Rahul, who is also a specialist opener comes in at No 3. If the same batting order is followed, skipper Kohli, who has been world’s best ODI batsman by a distance, will have to drop himself a notch down at No 4.
The seasoned pair of Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni along with all-rounder Hardik Pandya are expected to form the middle-order. Yuzvendra Chahal is a certainty as the wrist spinner and Kuldeep Yadav, who has created all sorts of doubts in the minds of the batsmen, may just comeback into the playing XI as the Trent Bridge ground is much bigger than the one at Bristol. If the team management thinks of playing an extra pacer, Siddarth Kaul or Shardul Thakur might come in.
If Bhuvneshwar Kumar recovers from the stiff back, he will be sharing the new ball with Umesh Yadav. For England, the series against Australia was a real morale booster. Buttler, whose dream run has continued since the start of the IPL, will like to continue his rich vein of form. He is one of the batsmen, who has been able to read the two wrist spinners quite well.