Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli, India, West Indies, 1st ODI
Virat Kohli si backing Ajinkya Rahane to do the job at the top of the order for India in this seriesIan Kington/AFP/Getty Images

Ajinkya Rahane is set to play in the first one-day international against the West Indies in Port of Spain after the India captain made it pretty clear who his choice was going to be to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order.

Rahane did not play a single match in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017, with Rohit Sharma and Dhawan shining with the bat – barring that ill-fated final of course – for India.

With Rohit rested for this limited-overs tour to the Caribbean, the question was if Rahane would get a chance or if Virat Kohli would take a look at Rishabh Pant, the man, or rather kid, who took Rohit's place in the India squad.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Kohli made it pretty clear that Rahane would be the one to open the innings with Dhawan.

"We have Ajinkya who we had as a back-up opener in the Champions Trophy," Kohli said. "He will start for sure with Shikhar Dhawan. He is someone who has done well at the opener's slot."

Kohli then went on to say that Rahane would open in all five matches, which then poses the question of Pant will even get an opportunity to make his ODI debut for India.

The middle order is already crowded with options, with Dinesh Karthik, who was also a part of the CT squad, unable to play a single game.

Unless Dhawan is rested or some of the other seniors in the middle order are given a break, Pant might end up being just a water carrier in this ODI series.

Umesh Yadav, India, West Indies, first ODI, Jasprit Bumrah
Umesh Yadav is expected to return to the India playing XIReuters

The other definite change in the playing XI for India from the Champions Trophy final will be Umesh Yadav or Mohammed Shami coming in for Jasprit Bumrah, who, like Rohit, has also been rested.

Umesh was quite unlucky to sit out the final three games of the tournament in England, so expect him to slot back into the playing XI for India.

If Kohli decides to go with a full-strength side, then the rest of the team should be the same.

West Indies have named a 13-man squad for the first two ODIs of this series, so it is just a matter of a couple of players sitting out.

While the leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo looks like sitting out, West Indies have a choice between Kesrick Williams and Miguel Cummins as the pace option to replace the injured Shannon Gabriel.

Expected playing XI:

India: Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (C), Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav.


West Indies: Evin Lewis, Kieran Powell, Shai Hope, Jonathan Carter, Jason Mohammed, Roston Chase, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Alzarri Joseph, Miguel Cummins.