Ex-India player Sanjay Manjrekar named his probable starting Team India XI which had a couple of surprise inclusions. The first ODI against South Africa is scheduled to be played at the Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday. Discussing possible tactics that the visiting team could incorporate while fielding their final XI, Manjrekar went for young blood instead of the tried and tested experienced campaigners. Speaking on ESPNcricinfo, Manjrekar omitted Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin from his starting line-up. He went for all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, who is yet to make his ODI debut, as an opener.
“My main obsession was fitting that sixth bowling option. Hence, Venkatesh Iyer comes into the plan,” Manjrekar said.
“Shikhar Dhawan can be rested for this match,” he explained.
Here’s Manjrekar’s possible playing XI: Venkatesh Iyer, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Jayant Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
The opening ODI will be KL Rahul’s first match as Team India captain in white-ball cricket as regular captain Rohit Sharma isn’t touring due to a hamstring injury.
All eyes will also be on former skipper Virat Kohli, who will playing purely as a batter after five years. Kohli, who stepped down from T20I captaincy last year and was replaced by Rohit as the ODI leader, opted to hang his captaincy boots in the longest format as well recently.
The visitors will have a point to prove after going down 1-2 in the three-match Test series. India had started well with a win at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
However, hosts South Africa picked themselves up to register two inspirational and fighting wins in the remaining two Tests to deny India their maiden Test series triumph in the country.
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