After slumping to a 0-2 T20I series sweep against Australia, India will look to rebound strongly when they head into the opening ODI of the five-match series against the Aaron Finch-led side at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday.
The ODI series against Australia will serve as the final leg of preparation for the Men in Blue ahead of the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup as the Virat Kohli-led side look to sort out the final pieces of a jigsaw puzzle ahead of the mega event.
Australia, on the other hand, are boosting with confidence following their 2-0 T20I series sweep of India. They will look to continue their momentum and clinch their first ODI series in two years, after having lost all of their six series since January 30, 2017.
The series will mark as the last opportunity for a handful of players to step up and give their absolute best in order to grab national selectors' attention ahead of the mega 50-over event.
1) KL Rahul
After a string of poor run with bat and a provisional suspension for his controversial comments during a celebrity talk show, top-order batsman KL Rahul finally made an impressive return to the national squad with two back-to-back decent T20I scores against Australia. The Indian opener displayed his intent by first notching up 50 off 36 balls in the opening T20I before following it up with a 26-ball 47 in the second match in Bengaluru. However, both of his knocks came in the losing cause.
With his two innings, Rahul has given a strong message to the national selectors ahead of the ICC World Cup. If he manages to maintain his form in the upcoming limited-over series, then he is most likely to retain his place in India's World Cup squad as the reserve opener.
2) Vijay Shankar
Though all-rounder Vijay Shankar did not get a chance to bat for India in the recently-concluded T20I series, he was given an opportunity to open the attack against Australia in the second match. Shankar, who was called into the squad as a replacement for injured Hardik Pandya, did not disappoint the national selectors as he grabbed big wickets of Aaron Finch and D'Arcy Short. However, he proved to be quite expensive for India as he gave away at least nine runs an over.
Shankar showcased his hitting ability by notching some quick runs in the recent T20I series against New Zealand, but his temperament was tested when the Men in Blue were reeling at 18-4 during the last ODI against the Black Caps and he pulled back a crucial knock of 45 to keep his side in the game while chasing a score of 213 runs
If he manages to put up a decent show in the upcoming ODI series against Australia, he is almost certain of a World Cup spot as the back-up allrounder to Hardik Pandya.
3) Rishabh Pant
Having failed to click with the bat in the two-match T20I series against Australia, Rishabh Pant will look to make quick amendments heading into the ODI series as he is well aware that the upcoming fixtures are the last chance for him to strengthen his case for selection as the second wicketkeeper-batsman after Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the 2019 Word Cup.
Pant had a very poor outing in the T20Is against Finch's side, having dismissed for three and one in the two innings.
4) Siddharth Kaul
With a berth for the fourth seamer is still up for grab in India's World Cup squad, pacer Siddarth Kaul will look to pull back some good performance in the ODIs against Australia in order to put himself in contention for the mega event.
Kaul, who got a chance to perform in the second T20I in Bengaluru, kicked off his first over well by giving just four runs to the Australians and removing Marcus Stoinis. However, he was smashed all over the park in the final three overs as he conceded 30 runs in his final two overs to finish with figures of 1/45 in 3.4 overs.
But an impressive show in the ODIs will probably hand him with a World Cup slot, maybe as the reserve pacer.
5) Ravindra Jadeja
All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who was once one of the regular members of the India's limited-overs squads, has got an opportunity to rebuild his ODI career after being named as a replacement for Hardik Pandya--who was sidelined with back fitness.
Jadeja will definitely look to take advantage of the opportunity and will be keen to come up with some good performances in order to bring himself in contention for the World Cup 2019 spot.
The two squads for ODIs are as follows:
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Kedar Jadhav, Vijay Shankar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant, Siddarth Kaul, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja.
Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), D'Arcy Short, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Usman Khawaja, Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner, Adam Zampa, Jason Behrendorff, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon.