Preparation for the World Cup will start from the opening match of the ODI series against Australia

All-rounder Hardik Pandya’s leadership skills will be put to the test as India prepare for the World Cup later this year when they take on Australia in a three-match ODI series here on Friday. Regular skipper Rohit Sharma is unavailable for the match due to family commitments and Pandya will lead the team in his absence. Under Pandya’s captaincy, Gujarat Giants won the Indian Premier League title in their first season.

He has been leading the Indian team in T20 Internationals for quite some time now. After winning the four-match Border-Gavaskar series 2-1 against Australia and booking a ticket to the World Test Championship final to be held in June, the Indian team is now gearing up for the World Cup in the 50-over format. Would like to The ODI World Cup will be held in India in October-November this year. India won its last World Cup on home soil in 2011 under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Keeping this in mind, similar success would be expected from the Rohit Sharma-led team. The Indian team has made a great start to this year by winning all six matches in the ODI format in two separate series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In these six ODIs, Shubman Gill has scored 567 runs with three centuries and an average of 113.40. In the absence of Rohit in the first match, he will be under pressure to get the team off to a good start.

A similar performance will be expected from him after his Test hundred against Australia in the fourth and final match at Ahmedabad. Kohli, who scored an innings of 186 in the Test in Ahmedabad, has already put the poor limited overs form behind him. He has scored 338 runs this year at an impressive average of 67.60 and will be looking to take his tally of 75 international hundreds against favorite rivals Australia. It will be interesting to see how Kohli copes with Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa during this period.

Zampa’s record against the Indian run machine has been impressive. Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal bowled together during an optional practice session here on Wednesday. Both these leg-spinners can become important weapons in the Indian attack in limited overs cricket with their ability to take wickets. Kuldeep has been India’s best spinner this year with 11 wickets in five matches, while among the fast bowlers, Mohammad Siraj has taken 14 wickets in the same number of matches. Australia’s team has the ability to win the match under any circumstances despite the absence of regular captain Pat Cummins.

Five-time World Cup winners Australia also want to finalize their preparations for the World Cup to be held in October-November this year. Steve Smith will lead Australia in Cummins’ absence. The team did well under his captaincy in the last two Test matches. Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are not available for this ODI series but experienced batsman David Warner and all-rounder Ashton Agar have joined the national team.

Both these players returned home during the Test series. This will be the first ODI of this year for the Australian team. Teams: India: Hardik Pandya (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Lokesh Rahul, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umran Malik, Shardul Thakur, Akshar Patel, Jaydev Unadkat.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey, Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Josh English, Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Ellis, Adam Zampa. The match will start at 01:30 PM.

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