Rahul, Dhawan and youngsters in focus as India take on Zimbabwe in 1st ODI
The men in blue are all set to take on Zimbabwe in the first ODI of the three-match series, starting Thursday, and stand-in skipper, KL Rahul, along with vice-captain Shikhar Dhawan will be the one under the lens.
It will also be an important series for Shikhar Dhawan who continues to play ODI cricket while being out of favour for other formats of the game.
This series can also prove to be a breakthrough for young Indian players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ishan Kishan and Sanju Samson. It will also be interesting to see if Rahul Tripathi gets a chance to prove his worth.
Supposed to be one of the most vital cogs in India's T20 World Cup top-order, Rahul would like to make full use of the game time he gets as an opener during the three games against Regis Chakabva's side.
Rahul's immediate task at hand after a two-month lay-off, during which he underwent a sports hernia surgery, is to keep his opening slot in T20 cricket and adapt to the team's philosophy of going hell for leather from ball one.
It won't just be about runs that skipper Rohit Sharma or coach Rahul Dravid would be looking at when they monitor Rahul's performance in Zimbabwe.
Rather they would like to check out his approach and the manner in which he is scoring runs, something he would need to tweak before that first Asia Cup game against Pakistan on August 28.
On the Harare Sports Club batting belters where Zimbabwe chased down Bangladesh's 300 plus and 290-odd targets in successive games in the recently-concluded series, India's batting line-up with Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda and Sanju Samson will certainly prove to be more than a handful for hosts.
And unlike Bangladesh, a bowling attack comprising Mohammed Siraj, Prasidh Krishna, Deepak Chahar, Kuldeep Yadav along with all-rounders Shardul Thakur and Axar Patel has more potency in any conditions against this Zimbabwe line-up.
For Zimbabwe, the aim would be to become the proverbial banana peel on which Rahul and his men can slip as a series win for 'Men in Blue' would hardly win them any accolades but a defeat would invite sharp criticism.
The hosts therefore wouldn't mind if the likes of Sikandar Raza, Chakabva and Innocent Kaia repeat their batting performances from the Bangladesh encounters and show the world that the previous series win was not just a mere flash in the pan.
India: KL Rahul (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan (vice-captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (wicket-keeper), Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Mohd Siraj, Deepak Chahar, Shahbaz Ahmed.
Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva (captain), Ryan Burl, Tanaka Chivanga, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe , Innocent Kaia, Takudzwanashe Kaitano , Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, John Masara, Tony Munyonga , Richard Ngarava , Victor Nyauchi , Sikandar Raza , Milton Shumba , Donald Tiripano
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