India face Sri Lanka in a 3-match ODI series starting Tuesday 10th January 2023 with senior stalwarts Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and KL Rahul returning to a young team that huffed and puffed against Asian T20 Champs Sri Lanka.
Hardik Pandya’s side finally stamped their authority in the deciding 3rd T20I to win the series 2-1 with a massive 91-run margin and will be primed and ready for the next stage.
Pandya deputises under Rohit Sharma who returns as captain following his early exit from the Bangladesh tour that India ended up losing 1-2. And, with 17 ODIs to go before the October 2023 ODI World Cup in India, every player in both teams know their selection for the showpiece event is on the line from here on.
The Indian middle-order is under scrutiny and Captain Rohit Sharma will hope his Mumbai Indians teammate Suryakumar Yadav comes good after a brilliant 112-run knock in 51 balls in the 3rd T20I against Sri Lanka. With KL Rahul back and Shreyas Iyer in good nick (724 runs in 15 innings with a century and 6 fifties in ODIs in 2022), this is one area they will look to settle before long.
Shikhar Dhawan, who captained India in Bangladesh has been dropped, but his foil, opener Shubman Gill has been in fine form in ODIs (638 runs in 12 matches at an average of 70.88 in 2022). Gill will probably be first choice to open with Rohit Sharma.
In the Lankan camp, right-arm leg break bowler Jeffrey Vandersay, their highest wicket-taker in ODIs in 2022 (14 wickets in 7 matches) joins the squad and Nuwanidu Fernando makes his debut in a side captained by inform all-rounder Dasun Shanaka. Kusal Mendis deputies.
In big news for the Islanders, Avishka Fernando makes a comeback after being side-lined due to injury since last appearing in February 2022 against Australia. The 24-year old top order batter recently had a stellar campaign in the recently concluded Lanka Premier League (LPL), top scoring in the tournament that included a man-of-the-match performance in the final. Sadeera Samarawickrama, who finished as the second highest run-getter in the tournament to win the man of the tournament award, also makes the squad.
Surprisingly, Dinesh Chandimal, the third-highest run-scorer in the LPL (31.88 average at a strike rate of 126.99) and a key to Colombo Stars’ run to the final, has been excluded from both squads. Dhananjaya Lakshan and Asitha Fernando, both part of the team that recently hosted an ODI series against Afghanistan have been dropped as well.
Sri Lanka: 57
No result: 11
1st ODI – January 10th, Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati
2nd ODI – January 12th, Eden Gardens, Kolkata
3rd ODI – January 15th, Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (Vice-Captain), Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Arshdeep Singh, Jasprit Bumrah
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama. Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwanidu Fernando, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Lahiru Kumara