India and Australia will lock horns in the three-match ODI series starting from March 17 in Mumbai. The series is crucial for both sides with the World Cup set to be played in the country later this year. Australia's regular skipper Pat Cummins has decided to stay with his family following the bereavement of his mother during the Test series. Steve Smith is set to lead Australia in the series. Meanwhile, India will also miss their skipper Rohit Sharma who is not available for the series opener due to personal committments.
All-Rounder Hardik Pandya will lead India in the series opener while Rohit will return to the set up from the second game and resume the leadership duties. As far as India's playing XI is concerned, Ishan Kishan is likely to be preferred at the top of the order for the first game in Rohit's absence while Shubman Gill should partner him. While KL Rahul is also part of the squad, he is expected to bat at number five, the role team management has given to him for quite some time in ODI cricket.
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Virat Kohli will continue to bat at number three but the main concern for team India will be the injury to Shreyas Iyer. He sustained a back injury during the fourth Test against Australia and is reportedly set to miss the ODI series along with the first few matches of Indian Premier League (IPL) as well. In his absence, Suryakumar Yadav is expected to get a chance. In this case, Rahul might slot in at four while Surya should come out to bat at five.
Skipper Hardik Pandya will slot in at number six while Ravindra Jadeja is definite to make a comeback in the ODI team. He will be playing his first ODI since July 2022. Axar Patel will be hard done with Jadeja's return and is most likely to be benched while Washington Sundar, the off-spinner, is expected to be preferred ahead of him.
It remains to be seen who among Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav gets a chance to play. The latter has been preferred of late but the team management might want to try Chahal in the lead up to the World Cup. The pace bowling attack is expected to comprise of Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami and Shardul Thakur. Umran Malik and Jaydev Unadkat might have to wait for their chance and hence, will be benched.
India's probable XI for 1st ODI vs Australia: Ishan Kishan (WK), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya (C), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav.