India captain Virat Kohli and the team management were under fire over selection issues for the recently concluded three-Test series against South Africa. However, the skipper is likely to face very little headache when choosing the XI for the opening One Day International against the hosts.
It is a six-ODI rubber between South Africa and India. Durban's Kingsmead will be the venue for the opener on Thursday (February 1). South Africa are the number one ODI side in the world and India are second.
If Kohli and his men have to reclaim the top ranking, they have to beat the Proteas by 4-2 or better margin. A drawn series is enough for the hosts to retain their top spot.
India lost the preceding Test rubber 1-2. Kohli was criticised for not playing vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the opening two Tests in Cape Town and Centurion, which both ended in losses for the visitors. Also, in-form Bhuvneshwar Kumar was surprisingly axed for second Test.
Both Rahane and Bhuvneshwar returned for the final Test in Johannesburg. And India won by 63 runs on a "poor" pitch which troubled batsmen from both sides. Bhuvneshwar won the Man-of-the-match award.
Now, Kohli, head coach Ravi Shastri and others will sit down today (January 31) to pick the right XI for tomorrow's 1st ODI. Kohli missed India's previous ODI rubber at home against Sri Lanka due to his marriage with Anushka Sharma in Italy. In his absence, Rohit led the team in both ODIs and T20Is.
Rohit, the team's vice-captain made it clear that they wanted to win the ODI series as they will start preparations for next year's ICC World Cup with these matches.
Kohli and his team are eyeing a piece of history as India have never won a bilateral ODI trophy in the "Rainbow Nation".
Here is India's likely XI for 1st ODI (Day/Night) against South Africa
- Rohit Sharma (vice-captain)
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Virat Kohli (captain)
- Dinesh Karthik
- Shreyas Iyer
- MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper)
- Hardik Pandya
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar
- Jasprit Bumrah
- Mohammed Shami
- Yuzvendra Chahal
India squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik (wicketkeeper), MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Shardul Thakur.
South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (captain), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Khaya Zondo.
Match starts at 4.30 PM IST (1 PM Local, 11 AM GMT)