While, Pandya, who has led India in 11 T20Is so far, has only stepped into that role on an interim basis as regular captain Rohit Sharma will miss this match due to the wedding of his brother-in-law, it will be interesting to see how India’s vice-captain in ODIs operates when given the reins in the 50-over game.
At a time when the players are more likely to be bothered about IPL-2023, which will start from March 31, and the World Test Championship Final against Australia in June, India would have to find the motivation to give off their best in this series as well.
In the past six months, India’s record at home in ODIs has been as good as it has been in the other two formats. In October, they beat South Africa 2-1, and then whipped Sri Lanka and then New Zealand 3-0.
One man who stood out with his scintillating performances in the six ODIs against the Lankans and the Kiwis was Shubman Gill-averaging 113.40, the dashing opener scored 567 runs and cracked three centuries in the two series, announcing his arrival and booking his seat as Rohit’s undisputed opening partner in the 2023 ODI World Cup.
What would add to the Punjab man’s growing confidence is that just a few days ago, he slammed his second Test century (128) at home in Tests, against Australia in Ahmedabad.
Somewhere, India would also want Suryakumar Yadav, playing an ODI for the first time in front of his home crowd in Mumbai, to replicate his ultra-blazing form in T20Is in ODIs – where his record is pretty ordinary so far, 433 runs in 20 email@example.com, with just two fifties to show.
This pales in comparison to his glittering CV in T20Is, where he has smashed 1675 runs in 48 firstname.lastname@example.org, at a brilliant strike rate of 175.76. It’s apparent that ‘Sky’ needs to give himself more time at the crease, rather than going for his ‘cute’ shots that have brought him fame in T20Is, right away.
Plenty of eyes will be on former India captain Virat Kohli, who just cracked his 75th Test century-a patient 186 in the fourth Test and Ravindra Jadeja. The star all-rounder will be playing his first ODI since July 2022. With Axar Patel and Washington Sundar also in the mix, it would be interesting to see if India give Axar Patel and Washington Sundar a go or try out the ‘Kulcha’ option-Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Australia will be boosted by their 3-1 record at the Wankhede. The last time they faced India here, they won by 10 wickets.
Likely to be encountered with some flat wickets during this short series, the Aussies will be hamstrung by the absence of their regular captain Pat Cummins and his pace bowling colleague Josh Hazlewood. However, veteran opener David Warner‘s arrival gives solid muscle to their batting, provided he’s fit for the first game.