India will take on South Africa in a three-match ODI series beginning on January 19. Four Wisden writers pick the XIs they believe the tourists should put out.
Aadya Sharma, Wisden India Editor
Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendral Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
A mix of old and new to start the order: Shikhar Dhawan’s got to show he’s still a mighty force, while Ruturaj Gaikwad’s finally on the big stage after all the runs he’s put up in domestic cricket. Further down, it’s Virat Kohli at his usual at three, with Shreyas Iyer over Suryakumar Yadav for me (feel he’ll be a better asset at four in the format with his strike rotation). KL Rahul’s position is creating a dilemma, but he played with remarkable freedom in Australia last year, and sort of brings some spark to a middle order bereft of Hardik Pandya or Ravindra Jadeja. Rishabh Pant is where he should be.
On to the bowling, it’s a question of how many seamers versus spinners. Shardul Thakur is a useful asset to have in any format – he gets you wickets even in dry phases of the middle overs – while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah can pile on the pressure early and at the death (Bhuvi’s recent numbers with the old ball haven’t been too good, so a little skeptical still). Just the one spinner feels a little bare, especially because none of the top six really bowls part-time and you don’t want the seamers overworked. Alongside Yuzvendra Chahal, you can expect Ashwin to rediscover his usual incisiveness with the white ball. Siraj is likely to be fit, but I wouldn’t rush him back.
Sarah Waris, Wisden India staff writer
Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj
I have opted for Ruturaj as my opener considering his recent form. He is a talent for the future, and giving him matches in overseas conditions will only do him good. Rahul can bat at number four, where he has played previously, while Shreyas Iyer is my number five. He is more suited to ODIs and can take on the role of anchor or power hitter seamlessly.
I have gone in with Venkatesh purely keeping in mind the future, and the 2023 World Cup. Pandya might not be fit regularly, and having options is a good move. His inclusion would mean that he would have to bowl his ten overs, and while it’s a risk, it could be worth it. Ashwin’s recent form helps him edge ahead of Chahal in the XI.
Shubham Pandey, Wisden India social media manager
Shikhar Dhawan, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah
For me, this series is all about preparation for the future, and the focus should be building the team for the upcoming ICC events.
I will give the debut cap to Ruturaj because he was amazing in 2021 and should get a chance in the XI.
Venkatesh has been considered as a potential replacement for Pandya, so he deserves a chance to showcase his skills in the ODI series against South Africa. Rest of the core unit will be the same for this series as well.
Divy Tripathi, Wisden India staff writer
KL Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal
I’d like Rahul to return to the top of the order where he has done so well in Tests and T20Is recently, and for India to settle down on Suryakumar and Shreyas in the middle order alongside Kohli and Pant.
For me the all-rounder question has to be answered through spinners, as the World Cup will take place in India. So given that Jadeja, Axar Patel, and Washington Sundar have missed out, I’d go ahead with Ashwin.
Bumrah selects himself automatically, while Chahal will be the leg-spin option. The likes of Shardul and Bhuvneshwar can hold the bat well and should boost the India lower order.