India is looking to take another victim


India will resume their preparations for the 2023 World Cup against the No. 1 team in the world, New Zealand, in Hyderabad in the first of a three-match ODI series starting Wednesday. Coming off of their biggest-ever ODI victory and with only a two-day turnaround time, India will be optimistic going into the match (January 18).

India's batting is fairly stable, as shown by their 3-0 whitewash of Sri Lanka, and any alterations to their first-choice order for this series in particular are just transitory. In addition, Jasprit Bumrah's precautionary choice to delay his return to white-ball cricket at the beginning of the home season will allow for some additional testing of the bench strength as India looks to finalize their roster for the major tournament they will be hosting in October and November.

KL The Indian management will be able to include both Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan in the XI thanks to Rahul's vacation owing to family obligations and the last-minute injury update on Shreyas Iyer. However, the wicketkeeper will probably be playing out of position in the middle-order. Despite being designated Iyer's replacement in the ODI team, uncapped Rajat Patidar is unlikely to immediately make the starting XI.

Arshdeep Singh has been benched in favor of Shardul Thakur, who was previously not selected for the Sri Lanka series. Shahbaz Ahmed has also been given a second chance after missing the Bangladesh tour last year due to Axar Patel's absence. Washington Sundar might overtake him for that position, though, since he can offer quite a useful match-up against the many left-handed players in New Zealand's squad.

New Zealand, meanwhile, crosses the border after a convincing 2-1 come-from-behind series victory in Pakistan and would like to capitalize on their outstanding performance in subcontinental conditions.

The visitors have also been considerate of the players' fatigue because they have a busy away itinerary to start the World Cup year. Kane Williamson and Tim Southee, two of New Zealand's senior-most players, have been completely rested for the six white-ball games. Williamson scored 164 runs at an average of 54.67 during New Zealand's previous ODI assignment, and Southee was among the top three wicket-takers in the three-match series.

However, the threat New Zealand can offer would not in any way be diminished by the loss of two of their most productive players. On the batting-friendly grounds available in India, Devon Conway, who shone with a century and a fifty, and Glenn Phillips, who single-handedly gave them the victory in Karachi last week, can prove fairly destructive and would keep the hosts on their toes.


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