Indian players on the eve of the 1st ODI in Pune on Monday
Indian players on the eve of the 1st ODI in Pune on Monday
PTI

Gahunje (Pune): India has proved they the best in the Test and T20 against the visiting England side who have been floored in both these formats of the game.

While the opposition has been silenced there is an inner wave within Team India that has been a talking point. Who will open the innings for Indians?

However, skipper Virat Kohli said he is positive while saying, that is no issues or doubts about Sharma and Dhawan opening in ODIs, and that they had been amazing in the past few years.

With the best bench strength in recent times, Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri along with the other think tank will have to find the right opening pair as the first of the three-match ODI series, unfolds at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Gahunje stadium, on Pune-Mumbai Expressway here on Tuesday.

It is likely the old-war horse, Shikhar Dhawan will open with Rohit Sharma, as the host will be the focus in a spoilt-for-choice Indian team when it takes on world champion England eyeing a positive end to their tour after Test and T20 debacles.

The series is particularly important for the 35-year-old Dhawan, who failed to make an impact in the first T20 in Ahmedabad before being benched in the two games.

With plenty of options in (Shubman Gill) and outside (Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal) the squad for the opening slot, it will be a litmus test for the south-paw opening batsman, to prove himself in the lung-opener.

The ODI format gives, Dhawan who also bowls right-arm off break, time to build his innings. With loads of experience under his belt, the Delhi batsman could well return to form come Tuesday, as this series would be an extension of its preparations for the T20 World Cup later this year.

It has been a while since Kohli scored a hundred in the format, his last and 43rd one coming against the West Indies (114 not out) at Port of Spain in August 2019.

It is also expected that both KL Rahul, who is not likely to feature at the top of the order, and Rishabh Pant, after turning things around spectacularly since the brilliant showing Down Under, would be part of playing XI. They would have a big role in the middle-order along with the redoubtable Hardik Pandya.

Rookie pacer Prasidh Krishna, who has already caught the eye of Kohli, is also in the squad. Krishna enjoyed a good Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign for Karnataka, claiming 14 wickets in seven matches at an average of 24.5.

England would also be keen to end the tour on a high after suffering defeats in the Tests (1-3) and the T20 series (2-3). And for it to happen, skipper Eoin Morgan's role with the bat will be vital.

The likes of Jos Buttler and the swashbuckling Jason Roy will have to fire in unison and all-rounder Ben Stokes will have to step up with both the bat and ball.

Pacer Mark Wood troubled the Indian batters with his pace and in the absence of an injured Jofra Archer, he would have to shoulder greater responsibility along with Chris Jordan and the young Sam Curran.

The English spin department would be spearheaded by Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, but this duo have not been able to trouble the Indian batsmen and it remains to be seen whether they have any new tricks to change the dynamics.

With the Covid- 19 infections surging this three-match series will also be played in front of empty stands at the MCA Stadium, Gahunje.

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