IND vs NZ: 3 Indian Players To Watch Out For In ODI Series

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After a one-sided annihilation of Sri Lanka with a 3-0 whitewash, India, who are unbeaten in home bilateral series since mid-2019, will host New Zealand for 3 ODIs, followed by 3 T20Is.

The ODI series, which starts on January 18 in Hyderabad, remains important for both the teams as they prepare for the 2023 World Cup, scheduled for October-November in India.

The BCCI announced a strong squad for the ODIs. The missing players are Bumrah and Jadeja, both out due to injury, while Axar and KL Rahul are unavailable due to personal reasons, and Shreyas Iyer has been ruled out a day before the series with back injury.

India’s ODI squad against New Zealand: Rohit Sharma (Captain), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan (wk), Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, KS Bharat (wk), Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd. Shami, Mohd. Siraj, Umran Malik.

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Here are the 3 Indian players to watch out for in the ODI series vs New Zealand:

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill has all but cemented his place as the opener in the ODI side. He was picked up ahead of double centurion Ishan Kishan for the Sri Lanka ODIs, and justified his selection: 207 in 3 knocks at an average of 69 and strike rate of 122.

Since July 2022, Gill is the leading ODI scorer in the world among openers, averaging 68 with a strike rate of 103 in 13 outings, with the likes of Dhawan, Allen, and Warner falling behind him in terms of both average and strike rate.

His good runs of form, however, saw some ordinary returns against stronger oppositions like South Africa at home and New Zealand away. Now, Gill has a chance to ride on his good form and high confidence to do well against New Zealand, and further show his temperament against a better bowling unit.

Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj has emerged as India’s unarguably best bowler in the powerplay in ODIs. Since 2022, Siraj has taken 23 wickets in the first powerplay (first 10 overs) of ODI cricket -the most by a distance in the world. Siraj is a strong contender to be in the starting XI of India’s ODI World Cup side even when all of Bumrah, Shami and Deepak Chahar are available.

In New Zealand, Siraj will come up against a top order that is really good against the new ball, even if it’s moving both ways, for the Kiwi batters have grown up facing the swinging ball at home. This is a proper litmus test for Siraj to prove his ability to take powerplay wickets against a solid top-order. Success in this series, which everyone would keep a close eye on, will go a long way in Siraj’s hopes of playing in the World Cup.

Virat Kohli

There is no bigger brand in world cricket that Virat Kohli, even when out of form. Now, Kohli is back in form, and back to scoring ODI centuries like he used to his prime: Kohli has cracked 3 ODI centuries in his last 4 innings. But, even the best of Kohli’s supporters and admirers, would agree, all of them came on flat batting beauties, and in the first innings of the game.

Kohli will face a sterner test against the New Zealand bowling attack than he was challenged barely by the Bangladesh and Sri Lankan bowlers.

Virat Kohli will be the man once again who will generate the loudest cheer among fans, whether in the stadium or at home.