The upcoming One-Day International (ODI) series against England is a crucial test for numerous Indian players ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy 2015. The Ring Side View picks five players who will be in focus during the series.
With the weight of runs in the Ranji Trophy, Yuvraj Singh forced his way back into the one-day squad. His last ODI came in 2013 on the tour to South Africa and since then, he has only appeared in T20 Internationals. One of India’s finest players in this format, the southpaw will have his work cut out in this series. There are numerous contenders for the middle-order spots and Yuvraj has to show that he still has the fire in the belly to extend his ODI career.
The left-handed opening batsman may have been erratic in Tests and T20 Internationals but the one-day game is right up his alley! An average in the 40s shows that he has been fairly consistent and has had the knack of performing in the ICC tournaments. He missed out on the New Zealand series due to an injury but is now set to resume his role as an opener. Rohit Sharma is out injured now but is expected to return ahead of the Champions Trophy. The emergence of KL Rahul puts a bit of pressure on Dhawan for this series.
The classy right-hander’s one-day career is in a tricky spot. With Rohit and Dhawan at the top, Rahane has had to bat in the middle. With either missing, Rahane gets a promotion to open the batting. However, the problem with his one-day career has been his failure to convert starts and an average around 32 suggests that. With Rahul and Dhawan in the side, Rahane may not get to open. If he gets to bat in the middle, he is directly pitted against a Manish Pandey for a spot. This is an important series for Rahane.
The Maharashtra batsman has been a prolific batsman in domestic cricket. His initial games at the highest level were against Zimbabwe but he got a full run against New Zealand last year. Jadhav was stable with the bat but his bowling was the surprise package. He needs to maintain that in this series, where he will face competition from Yuvraj. Since both provide the extra bowling option, it would be interesting to see how India use them and define their respective roles.
The leg-spinner had a great run against New Zealand, taking five wickets in the last match to help India win the series. That was in the absence of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, who are India’s main spinners. Mishra may get a run in the side with both in home conditions. However, the presence of the duo puts pressure on Mishra. In the Champions Trophy, India may prefer Ashwin and Jadeja, unless Mishra manages to put up a persuasive case.