Team India unveiled their 15-member roster for the impending three-match One Day International (ODI) series against Australia on September 18. The announcement came with a noteworthy twist, as some senior stalwarts, including the likes of captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, and Kuldeep Yadav, were rested for the initial two encounters, but assured their presence for the third ODI.
Ajit Agarkar, India’s chief selector, made it official that KL Rahul, the versatile wicketkeeper-batsman, would take the reins as the leader of the Men in Blue for the first duo of ODIs. The fixtures are scheduled for September 22 and September 24, set to unfold in Mohali and Indore, respectively.
KL Rahul’s elevation to captaincy is not without precedent. This 31-year-old has donned the captain’s cap for India on 11 previous occasions across various formats. In the ODI realm, he has led the team seven times, securing four victories while suffering three losses.
Rahul’s most recent stint as ODI captain occurred during a 2-1 series defeat to Bangladesh in December 2022 when Rohit Sharma sustained an injury, leaving him unable to lead the side. This third ODI in Chattogram notably etched itself into the annals of cricket history as India clinched their most significant victory margin in terms of runs against Bangladesh.
The encounter bore witness to an extraordinary spectacle, highlighted by Ishan Kishan’s record-breaking performance. Kishan blazed to the fastest ODI double century, crafting an astonishing 210 runs off 131 deliveries while opening India’s innings. His breathtaking exhibition included 24 boundaries and 10 maximums, as he mercilessly dismantled the Bangladeshi bowlers. His partner in crime, Virat Kohli, also reached a century, notching 113 runs from 91 balls. Fueled by Kishan’s mastery and Kohli’s brilliance, India piled up an imposing 409 runs during their innings.
It was a herculean challenge for Bangladesh, who ultimately capitulated for a mere 182 runs in 34 overs. None of their batsmen could muster a half-century, with Shardul Thakur scalping three crucial wickets en route to India’s commanding 227-run triumph.
In preparation for the forthcoming ODI series against Australia, the Indian management has strategically opted for two distinct squads. As previously mentioned, the senior figures will be missing from the initial duo of ODIs. This decision presents a golden opportunity for the Men in Blue to assess their bench strength ahead of the upcoming ICC World Cup in India. Additionally, the inclusion of Ravichandran Ashwin and Washington Sundar adds an intriguing dimension to the team’s composition, especially in terms of spin bowling.
The forthcoming ODI series also carries substantial weight for players like Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav. Iyer, in particular, is in need of valuable playing time to regain his form, while Suryakumar aims to establish his prowess in the 50-over format. This holds particular significance for the 33-year-old Suryakumar, who has secured a spot in the World Cup squad and is eager to bolster his confidence with crucial runs.