After a thumping win over England in the Test series, India are gunning for another victory in the ODI and T20 series. India will host England for the ODI series first, starting from January 15 in Pune. The selectors could rest some of the spinners including Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Jayant Yadav, while Mahendra Singh Dhoni will play in the warm-up games before the ODI series.
India ODI and T20 captain Dhoni has not featured in any competitive cricket of late, though he trained with the state team and also kept fit with some training regime. Dhoni, who does not play in the longer format of the game, last played for India on October 29, against New Zealand in the ODI series, which India won.
Hence, there were questions raised about his absence from competitive cricket, but a BCCI official informed that Dhoni will play in the two warm-up matches for the Board President's XI. This will give Dhoni good match practice in the middle.
"As he is short of match practice he has decided to play the two Board of President XI games. One will be day and second game will be a day night affair," Indian Express quoted the BCCI official as saying.
Dhoni will lead team India in their first series of 2017, and will hope that his players deliver against England, who will be desperate for revenge after losing the Test series. But, as per Indian Express report, Dhoni might not have his key spinners for the series, including Aswhin and Jadeja. The selectors might be mulling over keeping them fresh for some major Test series in India.
If the selectors decide to hand them rest, the onus of the India spin department might fall on Amit Mishra, who has plenty of experience to handle the pressure, and carry the baton to help India emerge victorious.
The selectors need to have a balanced side and they will also look into the fitness of some of their players, who have been down with injuries. Rohit Sharma will not be available for the series, but Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane might be included, depending on their fitness.