India prevailed over South Africa 2-1 in the T20I series that concluded on Tuesday. Rohit Sharma-led squad is now going to Australia to take part in the ICC T20 World Cup. The second rung of India cricketers led by captain Shikhar Dhawan will take on Proteas in a three match ODI series starting Thursday.
Dhawan has previously captained for Team India and carries plenty of experience donning the hat. Shreyas Iyer will be his deputy for the series. The series is expected to provide much needed practice to Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar who have been announced as standby players for the World Cup.
In the absence of key players, newbies Rajat Patidar, Mukesh Kumar and Shahbaz Ahmed have been added to the squad, who might get a chance to debut for the men in blue in the series. Patidar and Mukesh have been awarded for great showing for India A against New Zealand A in recent series.
The series also provides a great opportunity for the players to grab the attention of the selectors for future events. All eyes will be on Sanju Samson and Shubman Gill on how they carry themselves in the absence of big guns. Also bowlers Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Bishnoi will be in focus as prospective replacements for the senior lot in future games.
There will be a toss-up between two Indian Premier League(IPL) star batters Rahul Tripathi and Patidar for the middle order role. Dhawan and Co. might go with Ishan Kishan as a power-hitter and finisher option. Left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will in all probability will shoulder the responsibility alongside Bishnoi. The hosts might stick with Chahar and Siraj for pace bowling and include Thakur for his all-round skills.
Meanwhile, visitors South Africa will be fielding their full strength against the hosts. Second string Team India will have to punch above its weight to get the better of the visitors who would want to go into the World Cup with a series win.
India Predicted XI for the 1st ODI against South Africa
Openers: Shikhar Dhawan(c), Shubman Gill
Middle Order: Shreyas Iyer, Rahul Tripathi/Rajat Patidar, Sanju Samson(wk)
Power-hitter: Ishan Kishan
Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi
Pace bowlers: Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj