Brett’s watch list: Possible Man of the Match contenders for 1st India-England ODI
The Indian cricket team will look to continue their winning momentum when they take on England in the first of the three-match ODI series starting on Tuesday, March 23 in Pune.
Team India once again showed how dominant a side they are at home as they clinched both the Test and the T20I series against a formidable English side as the action now shifts to the 50-over format.
I want to congratulate the Virat Kohli-led Indian side on winning the hard-fought T20I series and I’m also extremely delighted that my prediction of the hosts winning the series 3-2, came true.
The three-match ODI series between these two cricketing giants promises to be a cracker and here are four players that I think could deliver a Man of the Match performance in the first match of the series.
The Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli returned to form in the T20I series as he amassed 231 runs in five matches at a staggering average of 115.50 with three fifties to his name. The 32-year-old was rightly adjudged the Player of the Series and I expect him to continue his good form in the upcoming ODI series as well. His numbers in the 50-over format are just phenomenal, having scored more than 12,000 runs in 251 matches with 43 centuries and 60 fifties in his One-Day International (ODI) career.
With England missing the services of their talisman Joe Root, there will be added pressure on limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan to lead the middle-order. Morgan had a T20I series to forget as he managed just 33 runs in five matches at an average of 11. However, just like Virat, it is just a matter of one game before Morgan returns to form. The 34-year-old southpaw has scored more than 7000 runs in his ODI career and I expect him to perform in the opening ODI in Pune on Tuesday.
The return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the Indian team set-up has been one of the many positives for the hosts in the recently concluded T20I series. It was just fascinating to see how Bhuvi bowled in the T20 series-decider as he scalped two important wickets for just 15 runs, bowling 17 dot balls in a game where more than 400 runs were scored. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar will once again lead the Indian bowling line-up in the first ODI.
England pacer Mark Wood was one of the standout bowlers in the recently concluded T20I series. The 31-year-old bowled at a great pace throughout the series, generating extra bounce as he troubled the vaunted Indian batting line-up. Wood ended up with 5 wickets in four T20s at an average of 25.80. With Jofra Archer missing the ODIs, Wood will play an important role if the visitors are to clinch the 50-over series.