The Indian team is all set to tour Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series to be played from 18 to 22 August at Harare Sports Club. The Men in Blue last toured Zimbabwe in 2016, wherein they secured a clean sweep in the 50-over format under the leadership of MS Dhoni.
This time around, the top-order batter Shikhar Dhawan has been provided with an opportunity to lead the Blues. The talented Rahul Tripathi earned his maiden ODI call-up, while it will be Deepak Chahar’s return to international cricket after six months. It will be an interesting series, which can witness the few of them staking a claim to the senior ODI side for the 2023 World Cup.
Top-order: Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan
The opening combination of the Indian team can be the same, as seen in the Caribbean tour, with Dhawan partnering with Shubman Gill. The duo were successful in providing strong starts to the Indian team on all three occasions of the ODI series. Shubman slammed 205 runs to emerge as the leading run-scorer in the series, followed by Dhawan with 168 runs.
Ishan Kishan is expected to bat at number three in this series, which will provide him an opportunity to shine and make his case strong for the 50-over format.
Middle-order: Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson
Deepak Hooda has been in top form in international cricket for the last two months. He had the best-ever IPL season to take Lucknow Super Giants to the playoffs. Afterwards, Hooda emerged as the leading run-scorer in the two-match T20I series against Ireland with 151 runs. In two T20I appearances against West Indies, the 28-year-old garnered 59 runs.
Sanju Samson will don the role of a keeper in this series. After a whirlwind innings of 77 against Ireland, he accumulated 72 runs in the Caribbean ODI series. In the T20I leg, Samson slammed 45 runs at an average of 45. It can be a toss-up between Samson and Tripathi for the number five/six slots.
All-rounders: Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur
The left-arm spinner and a useful batter Axar Patel was in good form in the recently completed Caribbean tour. In one of the ODI fixtures, Patel hit an unbeaten 64 off 35 to help India in winning a close game. The T20I leg witnessed him taking five wickets in two games.
On the other hand, Shardul Thakur returned as the leading wicket-taker with seven scalps in the ODI series against West Indies. Furthermore, he can be handy with his ball-striking abilities.
Bowlers: Kuldeep Yadav, Mohd Siraj, Deepak Chahar
Kuldeep Yadav made his return to international cricket in the last fixture of the T20I series against the West Indies. He returned with figures of 3/12 and helped the Indian team to win by a big margin of runs. Mohammed Siraj has done well in the ODI series against England and West Indies and will look to continue the same form.
On the other hand, Chahar has been the key for India in white-ball cricket with his ability to pick up wickets in the powerplay overs. It will be interesting to see if the 30-year-old can replicate his earlier performances after a long hiatus.
India’s Predicted Playing XI against Zimbabwe: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shubman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Deepak Hooda, Rahul Tripathi, Sanju Samson (wk), Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Siraj, Deepak Chahar.