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If the T20I series between India and England was the sign of things to come, we have a roller-coaster ride ahead of us. England is set to begin the ODI leg of their tour against India and it promises to be another cracker of a series. The series will only be three matches long, but we expect it to have plenty of action. England and India are both likely to test their bench strength and evaluate the probables for T20 World Cup, which is going to be played later this year.
The first One Day International of the three-match series is to be played on 23rd March 2021. The action for the ODIs will move to Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune, which has a surface that is a lot different to what was there at Ahmedabad. The two teams will once again have to adapt to the conditions and the team that does that best will likely emerge victorious. As has been the case on this tour already, a cracker of a contest is on the cards and the fans will be in for a feast on Tuesday.
Coming from behind to register a 3-2 win against England is a no-mean feat. India did it gracefully as they racked a couple of consecutive wins to claim the T20I series. We expect India to experiment a bit in this series largely as a part of their preparations for the two shortest-format World Cup that will be played before the next ODI World Cup. Having said that, winning this series will be of vital importance as they'd want to pick up important points for Cricket World Cup Super League.
India's most-recent ODI assignment was against Australia wherein they were defeated 2-1 by a minuscule margin. They fought hard throughout the series, but lack of aggression with the bat probably worked against them in that series. Now that India are looking to adopt a new approach and have added a couple of new faces, it will be interesting to see how they fare in this upcoming match.
India are not having the services of a few of their mainstream players and while that could be a deterrent, it will also act as an opportunity for India to test out their bench strength. To counter the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, and Mohammad Shami, India have included Krunal Pandya and Suryakumar Yadav into their squad. India have had a long-standing issue with their number four position and they might try slotting Suryakumar Yadav in there. Given the form he is in, this could be a game-changing change for India.
Despite having a few players missing, India is looking as solid as it can get, at least on paper. With the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli at the top, their batting is as good as any. Although their bowling looks a little inexperienced, the presence of spinners should help them hold England. If the spinners are able to do well, India should find it easy in the upcoming encounter.
Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, V Kohli, Lokesh Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, SN Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
England had a full-strength side available for the T20Is, but that will not be the case when they take the field in the first or any of the ODIs. Jofra Archer and Joe Root are not available and their absence could make a massive difference, especially with their middle-order not looking in best of the touches. Make no mistake, they still have a terrific team for the format, and beating them is going to be tough.
England have not played an ODI series recently as their last assignment was against Australia, which they lost. Surprisingly, it was England's only ODI defeat since they were beaten by India in 2017. Just like India, England, too, are likely to experiment a bit owing to their preparations for the T20 World Cup. We expect the likes of Sam Billings, Liam Livingstone, and Reece Topley to feature in the first eleven for England.
Despite a few key players absent, England are not short on experience. With the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Ben Stokes, and Jos Buttler, they have ample experience available and all of those players will be pretty familiar with the conditions of India. Their bowlers, however, due to the lack of enough IPL exposure, might not find it as easy to bowl in Indian conditions, which are suited more for the slower bowlers and less for the quick bowlers.
England's approach of going all guns blazing has reaped them plenty of rewards. They won the last 50-over World Cup following the same approach and they will be a threat once again. Their middle-order was under-pressure in the T20I series, but the longevity available in the format might well be the tonic their middle-order batsmen need. They have a batting unit that goes deep and take apart any bowling attack on their day. If Indian bowlers do not manage to keep England's batting quiet, England will be in for a massive day.
Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, BA Stokes, Sam Billings, Moeen Ali, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, AU Rashid, Mark Wood.
The two sides are going through a similar kind of phase wherein they'll be looking to test out a few players without compromising with the strength of their side. India will be pumped with their 3-2 win in the T20I series and will be eager to register to start the ODI series on a high as well. Both sides have a few key players absent but have good bench-strength available to back it up. India have an additional advantage of playing at home and that could make a difference. They will be a more confident side between the two and for those reasons, we expect India to come out on top in the first match of the One-day leg of this tour.
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