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India vs England 1st ODI Preview: After wins in Tests and T20Is, India set sights on ODI Series

IND vs ENG
IND vs ENG: India and England face off in a three-match ODI series starting Tuesday.

Pune, March 22: Struggling opener Shikhar Dhawan will be the focus in a spoilt-for-choice Indian team when it takes on world champion England in a three-match ODI series starting in Pune on Tuesday with the visitors eyeing a positive end to their tour after Test and T20 debacles. The series is particularly important for the 35-year-old Dhawan, who failed to make an impact in the first T20 International (T20I) in Ahmedabad before warming the benches in the remaining four games as India won the series 3-2.


With the management having plenty of options in (Shubman Gill) and outside (Prithvi Shaw and Devdutt Padikkal) the squad for the opening slot, it will be a litmus test for “Gabbar” to prove himself in the lung-opener.
He is expected to open the innings along with seasoned campaigner Rohit Sharma, who was in blistering form in the T20 series and would be keen to carry on in the same vein.
The ODI format gives Dhawan the time he needs to build his innings. With loads of experience under his belt, the Delhi batsman could well return to form come Tuesday.
For the Indian team, the series would be an extension of its preparations for the T20 World Cup later this year.
The 50-over-format, in general, remains low priority in 2021 with no major tournaments around the corner.
Skipper Virat Kohli was back among the runs in the T20 series against England and he would look to carry the momentum into the ODIs.
It has been a while since Kohli scored a hundred in the format, his last and 43rd one coming against the West Indies (114 not out) at Port of Spain in August 2019.
He will be itching to make his good form count and end the century drought.
It is also expected that both KL Rahul, who is not likely to feature at the top of the order, and Rishabh Pant, after turning things around spectacularly since the brilliant showing Down Under, would be part of playing XI.
They would have a big role in the middle-order along with the redoubtable Hardik Pandya.
There could be a toss-up between Mumbaikars Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav, for one spot in the playing XI. Yadav proved himself to be quite a power-hitter in the T20 series, notching up a blistering half century in his maiden international appearance.
The bowling attack is expected to be spearheaded by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who picked four wickets in the T20 series, and the new ball will be shared by Shardul Thakur. Thakur claimed eight wickets in the T20 series.
Rookie pacer Prasidh Krishna, who has already caught the eye of Kohli, is also in the squad.
Krishna enjoyed a good Vijay Hazare Trophy campaign for Karnataka, claiming 14 wickets in seven matches at an average of 24.5.
Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar are expected to be preferred over Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav.
Also, a fit-again Pandya would be the fifth bowler, but it remains to be seen how many overs he can bowl.
On the other hand, England would also be keen to end the tour on a high after suffering defeats in the Tests (1-3) and the T20 series (2-3).
And for it to happen, skipper Eoin Morgan’s role with the bat will be vital.
The likes of Jos Buttler and the swashbuckling Jason Roy will have to fire in unison and all-rounder Ben Stokes will have to step up with both the bat and ball.
England pacer Mark Wood troubled the Indian batters with his pace and in the absence of an injured Jofra Archer, he would have to shoulder greater responsibility along with Chris Jordan and the young Sam Curran.
The spin duo of Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid have been unable to trouble the Indian batsmen and it remains to be seen whether they have any new tricks to change the dynamics. Additionally, Ali can perform the role of a pinch-hitter, if needed.
All the games at MCA Stadium, Gahunje will be played in front of empty stands as India battles a fresh surge in COVID-19 infections.
Umpire’s call creating lot of confusion, if ball is hitting stumps it should be out, says Virat Kohli

Umpires

India skipper Virat Kohli on Monday criticised the fiercely-debated umpire’s call in the Decision Review System, saying it is creating a lot of confusion and LBW dismissals should be based solely on whether the ball is hitting the stumps, even if marginally.
As per the existing rule, at least 50 per cent of the ball should be hitting at least one of the three stumps for the batsman to be adjudged LBW on review in case an umpire’s call has been challenged.
“I played for a long time when there was no DRS. Right. If the umpire made a decision, whether the batsman liked it or not, it stayed like that. Vice versa the umpire gave it not out and it was out, it stayed like that, whether it was marginal or not,” said Kohli ahead of the first ODI of a three-match series against England here on Tuesday.
“According to me, the umpire’s call right now is creating a lot of confusion. When you get bowled as a batsman, you don’t expect the ball to hit more than 50 per cent into the stumps to consider yourself bowled.
“So from basic cricket common-sense, I don’t think that there should be any debate on that. If the ball is clipping the stumps, that should be out whether you like it or not, you lose the review.”
Kohli, who was critical of the on-field soft signals following Suryakumar Yadav’s dismissal during the T20 series against England, said the game has to be kept simple.
“That’s how simple the game has to be if it hits the stumps, or it misses the stumps. It doesn’t matter how much it’s hitting, and those kinds of things, because it’s creating a lot of confusion.
“…and you know the one more factor that needs to be considered is that, you know, how the fielding team responds to a dismissal that is claimed is also somewhere, defining soft signals as well,” he said.
“You have to question what the spirit of the game is and what those guidelines are, because if things like that happened with the Indian cricket team overseas, then you are talking about a totally different conversation of spirit of the game…,” he asserted.
Kohli said the things could come to a head in high-stakes tournaments if controversial umpiring calls end up affecting results.
“…there’s a lot at stake in the future with the big tournaments, and you don’t want some grey area factors in the game, which leaves you with no clarity to be the defining factors of those big tournaments.”


Spin great Shane Warne for long has called for a tweak in the umpire’s call, expressing a view similar to Kohli on the subject. (PTI)

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