Pune: India led by Virat Kohli will take on World Champions England in their final leg of the big tour as the three-match ODI series, starts today (Tuesday). The three ODIs will be played in Pune on March 23, 26 and 28. Amid the rising cases in Maharashtra, all matches will be played behind the closed doors.
Keeping the fixtures in mind, the Indian players will get a much-needed break for days while the English players with IPL (Indian Premier League) contracts will join their respective clubs.
Before taking the field in the first ODI, Indian captain Virat Kohli confirmed that Shikhar Dhawan will open the innings with Rohit Sharma. While there are a few fixed selections in the playing XI, however fans are eager to see the bowling combination. In the bowling lineup, Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the pace attack. While T Natarajan, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Siraj and Prasidh Krishna are the other contenders to don the blue jersey. In the spin department, Yuzvendra Chahal is likely to be partnered by either with Washington Sundar or Krunal Pandya. For the role of guarding behind the stumps, KL Rahul has been named as a wicket-keeper in ODIs and will compete with Rishabh Pant directly.
Talking about England, the absence of Joe Root and Jofra Archer will be a big blow for the visitors. England's bowling is a department where they lack pace as well as spin. This series will be crucial for England as they will prep up for 50-over World Cup in 2023 in India. England will keep an eye over likes of Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone and Reece Topley.
From past few years, MCA Stadium in Pune has rolled out pitches that are suitable for batting. The venue has hosted only four ODIs so far. The last time England faced India in Pune (2017), where Kedar Jadhav and skipper Kohli knocked centuries to hunt down 351.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli (C), Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (WK), KL Rahul /Washington Sundar, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal/Kuldeep Yadav, T Natarajan
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Eoin Morgan (C), Jos Buttler (WK), Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran/Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Reece Topley, Mark Wood
UMPIRE'S CALL IS CREATING CONFUSION
India skipper Virat Kohli demanded the removal of umpire's call in cases of leg-before decisions where the umpire's not out decision stands even if the ball is shown clipping the stumps.
"According to me, the umpire's call right now is creating a lot of confusion. When you get bowled as a batsman, you don't expect the ball to hit more than 50% into the stumps to be considered as bowled. So when the ball is shown clipping the stumps, the bails are going to fall. From a basic cricket common sense, I don't think there should be debate on that. When the ball is clipping the stumps, it should be out, whether you like it or not you lose the review," said Kohli during media interaction.