The spotlight will be on Kedar Jadhav and KL Rahul as the national selectors meet to pick the Indian squad for the limited overs series with Australia on Sunday. After an emphatic tour of Sri Lanka, the selectors are unlikely to tinker with the winning combination with Jadhav and Rahul being the only ones whose position in the side may be the cause of any debate among the selectors.
India are slated to play five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals against Australia, with the first ODI to be played on 17 September in Chennai.
According to a report in Times of India, the selectors who are scattered across the country — chief selector MSK Prasad is in Lucknow watching the Duleep Trophy, while Sarandeep Singh and Devang Gandhi are elsewhere, will pick the team through a Skype video conference at about 11 am.
Post the 9-0 tour whitewash of Sri Lanka, the only reason to make changes to the side would be to provide rest to some of the players who have been playing plenty of cricket over the past six months and have a packed schedule ahead. But it is unlikely that such changes will take place for a series against Australia that's expected to be highly competitive.
In a case of a possible rotation, Jadhav and Rahul, who returned from the island nation with fairly poor numbers, could be the ones to make way. While the Maharashtra all-rounder managed just managed 64 runs in four innings at an average of 21.33, the Karnataka batsman scored just 28 runs in four games.
However, according to the report, the selectors are willing to give the duo another chance keeping in mind their good performances before the Sri Lanka tour, but have warned Rahul that he will have to fight for a slot in the middle order with India already having enough options for the opening spots.
"Kedar has done consistently well for us in the past. He adds value by taking wickets with his part-time spin bowling. We need to back him. KL is a quality batsman who's done extremely well in Test cricket. However, with Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan around and Ajinkya Rahane as the reserve option, there's no slot in the opening department for him. He has to come good in the middle-order, and he has to do that soon," a source told Times of India.
The other major call that the selectors will have to take is whether to recall Ravindra Jadeja or retain Axar Patel, who performed well in Sri Lanka picking up six wickets in five ODIs at an economy rate of 3.85. Jadeja had a tough Champions Trophy campaign and thus may struggle to break back into the side. Umesh Yadav, who was rested for the Sri Lanka tour, could return at the expense of Mohammed Shami, who might be rested.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose place in the side was under threat before the Sri Lanka tour, looks to have guaranteed his spot once again after the wicket-keeper batsman played some crucial knocks to help India sweep the series. Virat Kohli is expected to lead a strong Indian side as they will look to continue their winning momentum in limited overs cricket.
Probable squad: Virat Kohli (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni, KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Shardul Thakur.