India return to 50 overs cricket as the men in Blue take on New Zealand in a three-match ODI series starting tomorrow. India have rested some of the senior pros as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami all are missing from the squad.
The Indian team will be led by Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant is set to deputise the left-handed opener.
There are some new faces in the squad and a huge opportunity for some of the fringe players to embrace the opportunity and make a stronger case for themselves. Here we take a look at four players who will have to step things up to create some problems for the selectors for the upcoming selections-
This is a career-defining series for Shreyas Iyer. The batter's ODI record so far has been tremendous, but he is still in a fight along with KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav and Rishabh Pant for the middle-order positions. With Surya's impeccable form of late, it looks only imminent that Shreyas will have to continue his scoring prowess down under.
He has been scoring at an average of 60.75 this year but that won't warrant him a place if he fails in the upcoming three matches. With the ODI World Cup knocking on the door, a decent outing against New Zealand will only boost his case.
Shubman Gill's case is a peculiar one. With Rohit Sharma coming back to the side, it will be a battle between him and the veteran Shikhar Dhawan for another opening spot. And to cement that place as his, Gill needs runs under his belt. His unencumbered mentality is undoubtedly a positive, but his class has to reflect on the scoreboard. Gill's previous ODI outings have been dismal as the crafty batter managed only 80 runs in three matches against South Africa in October.
Eyes will be on him and a poor outing against the Kiwis will dilute his chances. With the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad and co. not far behind, the time is now for Shubman to showcase his class. His stat in the ODI is impressive though, scoring 1 hundred and 3 fifties in 12 matches with an average of 57.9 is sublime, but the margin of error is almost not existent in modern cricket, so he has to deliver.
Kuldeep Yadav bagged a four for in the last South Africa game back in October. Prior to that, he picked up 7 wickets in 3 matches for India A in Chennai against New Zealand A. His form of late has been decent, but this series will be defining for the chinaman. He has been in and out of the team in the last year and it's time to get a decent run. The left-arm wrist spinner is one of India's most lethal weapons and it will only be a huge risk to not include him in the World Cup next year.
But the 27-year-old has the task ahead to make a stronger bid for himself with a decent outing against New Zealand in this series. The conditions won't be ideal, but if he can conjure up some wickets, it will only be good for himself. But any negative performance will be a blow.
Sanju Samson is one of the most unfortunate cricketers of this era. He is a player who oozes class, has bags of talent and performs well regularly, but his chances with the Indian team have been few and far between. Whether he will get an opportunity against the Kiwis has a big question mark in it, but if he gets one, Samson will have to score runs, it is as simple as that. His outstanding unbeaten 86 in the losing cause against the Proteas is still a vivid memory, but being Samson, the Kerala batter knows more than anyone that he will have to be consistent in getting runs. He has scored 144 runs in 2022 while batting 6th in the order with a strike rate of 125, and that may be his role yet again in this series.