MS Dhoni returns to play in India colours again as the cricket action shifts to one-day internationals. New Zealand will want to bounce back from their Test series defeat, but this India ODI side look good for another impressive show.
Along with Dhoni, the likes of Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and Manish Pandey will also be on view, with the coloured clothing series promising runs and excitement aplenty.
This is an important series for Dhoni, purely to show that he is still the main man in this lineup, particularly considering the plaudits that have deservedly gone to Virat Kohli and his captaincy in the Test format.
Dhoni's leadership skills remain unquestioned, even if his batting has diminished over time. If the limited-overs skipper still has it in him to finish games in his own inimitable style will be known during this five-match series.
This is also a crucial series for Raina, who will miss the first ODI owing to a viral fever, considering the left-hander has been dropped from the squad in recent times. The fact that Raina brings with him decent part-time off-spin played a big role in the selectors picking the veteran, but it is his batting form that will decide his future in the team and if he will still be very much in the reckoning for the Champions Trophy in England next year.
India, of course, play quite a bit of limited-overs cricket before that tournament, but Raina will want to make sure he is in those squads by scoring a few runs.
Another India player in the spotlight will be Hardik Pandya, whose stock has gone down considerably since making a brilliant start to his career. His bowling remains way too one-dimensional and if that doesn't improve, Pandya, whose batting also is little hot and cold, will find it difficult to hold a place in this India team.
The lack of quality all-rounders works in his favour, but performances are a must in this series for the Mumbai Indians man to return to those heights that had everyone raving about him.
With Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli looking like being the top three for this series, the bulk of India's scoring will come from them, but the roles played by Dhoni, Pandey and Raina will be quite crucial.
This series is also an opportunity for Axar Patel, Amit Mishra and Jayant Yadav to make their case as the spinners, considering R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been rested for the first three ODIs.
New Zealand will have 12 of their players from the Test team also playing in the ODIs, with only Tim Southee, Anton Devcich and Corey Anderson, who will not bowl in this series as he continues to fully recover from a back problem, coming in.
Kane Williamson would have been disappointed by the manner in which New Zealand lost that final Test match to India in Indore, and he will expect a better performance from his side in the five matches. The good thing about keeping most of the players for the ODIs as well is that there will be no time needed to adjust to the conditions; but the flipside is that these players are already a little jaded and having been beaten by India three times already, they might find it difficult to overcome that mental barrier.
ODI series squads: India: MS Dhoni (C), Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Suresh Raina, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Jasprit Bumrah, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav.
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (C), Martin Guptill, Anton Devcich, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Luke Ronchi, BJ Watling, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Doug Bracewell, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry.