The highly-anticipated India vs Australia ODI series is set to kick-off with the first ODI on Sunday at Cheapuk on Sunday. Both the nations are giants of world cricket, and the series is expected to be a tight encounter.
Pakistan might have been India's number one rival, but with India and the Men in Green contests being rare in the last couple of years, India vs Australia has become significant. The rivalry has only become intense as was witnessed in the Test series earlier in the year, which also witnessed some controversies and intense cricket as well.
India and Australia are aware of the importance of the 1st ODI, and will be keen to choose their best XI, which can help their side emerge victorious. India come into this series with an impressive 5-0 win over Sri Lanka in the ODI series. Overall it was 9-0, with the Men in Blue winning both the Test series and one-off T20 match.
India have gone ahead with the same squad that beat Sri Lanka with minor changes. They have bolstered their pace unit, bringing in Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami, which has brought competition for the pacers spot.
Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar could start the series, but a below par performance could lead to changes in future matches. Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal should start as spinners in first of the five-match series.
With Shikhar Dhawan's wife not well, the left-hander has been released from the team to attend his better half, meaning KL Rahul will get his chance to open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma. Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya pick themselves for the first ODI.
Coming to the Australian team, they will miss the services of Aaron Finch, who has aggravated his calf injury. With Finch not available, Hilton Cartwright should make his ODI debut. David Warner, Steve Smith, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell will play a crucial role in the middle order.
However, it remains to be seen if Marcus Stoinis or James Faulkner will be included in the playing XI.
A decent performance from Stoinis in their only practice match against the Board President's XI might lead to his selection. Patrick Cummins, Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Ashton Agar are almost set to shoulder responsibility in the bowling department.
The pitch in Chennai is expected to be batting friendly, and with both teams having some wonderful batsmen, there should be lots of runs in the offing. Make no mistake, the playing surface at Chepauk has a history of providing turn, and there will be something for the spinners on Sunday too.
India: Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli(c), Manish Pandey, MS Dhoni(w), Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
Australia: David Warner, Hilton Cartwright, Steven Smith(c), Travis Head, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade(w), James Faulkner, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa