India blanked the Kiwi's comfortably in the three match test series; riding high on stellar performances by R Ashwin, Virat Kohli and Pujara; among others who also made notable contributions at important junctures. Now the focus shifts to the shorter formats of the game and the excitement starts at the picturesque locale of Dharamsala which is all set to host the first ODI of the five match ODI series between India and New Zealand.
MS Dhoni returns to lead a side high on confidence but also a side which will have plenty of new faces from the one which we saw in the test matches. Ashwin, Jadeja, Pujara are all missing while Raina will miss the first ODI with viral fever. The injuries to Dhawan and KL Rahul has opened up a slot at the top of the order and Ajinkya Rahane might well get an opportunity at the top of the order.
The spin department might not miss Ashwin and Jadeja much as Amit Mishra and Axar Patel are there to give cover and will be eager to perform and show that they are quality too. The fast bowling will be bolstered by Jasprit Bumrah who will be aiming to get his pin point yorkers working in the death overs.
Over all, this Indian outfit might be missing some regular players from the squad but still bears a very strong appearance and the Kiwi's will have to play out of their skins to emerge victorious in the ODI series. They will need Williamson and Taylor to fire in the batting department and hope that the returning Corey Anderson along with Neesham and Ronchi will do the job in the middle order.
The Kiwi's have plenty slow bowling options as they showcased at the World T20 earlier this year and I feel that the ODI's will be a keenly contested series. If the tracks are batting friendly than I don't see India beating New Zealand with this squad as the Black Caps have an explosive batting line up but if the tracks assist the slower bowlers and are sporting enough then it will be a fun series which will see various mouth watering battles over the course of the next month or so.
Who do you think has an upper hand in this ODI series? Any scoreline predictions?