Shikhar Dhawan and co look out for Umran Malik as he prepares for the ODI series opener against the BlackCaps at Eden Park | NZvIND | XtraTime

Umran Malik during the Indian team training at Eden Park in Auckland ahead of the opening ODI series. Image Courtesy: BCCI

Xtra Time Web Desk: The Indian cricket team, led by stand-in captain Shikhar Dhawan, will face New Zealand in the ODI series opener at Eden Park on Friday. The Men in Blue have been sweating it out in the nets for the past few days as they renew their battle with the World No. 1 side in ODIs. Jammu and Kashmir fast bowler Umran Malik, who missed out during the recent T20I series against the BlackCaps, was in the spotlight during the training session. Ever since he arrived in New Zealand with the Indian team, Umran has been bowling full tilt at the nets. He will have a tough fight with Arshdeep Singh as one of the two will be making his ODI debut.

As for the batting line-up, Shubman Gill will open the batting with captain Shikhar Dhawan. Shreyas Iyer and Suryakumar Yadav will go for No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. Despite his poor form of late, Rishabh Pant will bat at No. 5. He is also the vice-captain of the side in the ODI series.

Number 6 is where the argument begins. India would ideally like a comprehensive. But with Sanju Samson, India will take that chance, which means leaving Deepak Hooda.

But that means India will only have five specialist bowlers and no sixth bowling option.

While Kuldeep Sen has been asked to join the ODI squad for the tour of Bangladesh, India’s leadership remains the professional pace bowling options of Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. If both players are preferred, either Arshdeep Singh or Umran Malik will get a chance.

Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal are likely to be the specialist spinners in the side, although Washington Sundar is also in contention.

Here is the probable XI for India for the first ODI:

Shikhar Dhawan (C), Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sanju Samson, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Arshdeep Singh/Umran Malik, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal