Zimbabwe v India, 1st ODI, Harare July 23, 2013

Audition for India's next-in-line

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Match facts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Start time 0900 local (0700 GMT)

Big Picture

Zimbabwe and India were regular sparring partners in the mid to late nineties, but India have only visited the country thrice since 2000 and haven't invited the Zimbabweans over since 2002. For the hosts, the upcoming series could well be the marquee cricketing event of the year, and India also have their reasons to make the most out of this trip.

The presence of five potential one-day international debutants suggests that India are keen to try out a couple of new options, particularly with the ball, and the series will also allow Virat Kohli to add to his CV as the heir to the captaincy after mixed results at the helm in the Caribbean. These five games may not be entirely indicative of the future of the Indian team, but they will offer some enlightening clues.

They'll also serve as an early audition for an event of far greater consequence to India: their trip to South Africa at the end of the year. India's preparations for that tour also include a visit by the A side to South Africa in August. Despite the modesty of the opposition there's ample reason for the visitors to take these games seriously.

For their own part, Zimbabwe will be happy with the chance to test themselves against quality opponents, and also ease some financial pressures with the tour likely to turn a profit thanks to the lucrative television rights deals that India bring with them. Indeed, after the paucity of international fixtures last year, Zimbabwe are proving a far more popular destination in 2013 with Pakistan and Sri Lanka both visiting before the end of the year.

The Zimbabweans also won't have forgotten India's last tour in 2010, when an inexperienced touring group battled to compete with either the hosts or Sri Lanka in the tri-series and failed to make the final. Zimbabwe's squad has been training together for more than two months to prepare for these ODIs, and it's possible that they could register a rare win against elite opposition in one or two of the matches. The series opener could well be their best chance to do that.

Form guide

(most recent first, last five completed games)
India WWWLL
Zimbabwe WWLLL

In the spotlight

It's hard to believe it's taken this long for Cheteshwar Pujara to force his way into ODI contention for India, considering his eye-catching short format statistics - he averages 56.97 in List A cricket, with eight hundreds. Pujara has taken to Test cricket with instinctual ease, and if he moves as naturally into ODIs, his presence in the middle order could add significantly to Zimbabwe's worries.

Where Pujara's statistics immediately and obviously mark him out as a successful batsman, Sikandar Raza's don't, at first glance, suggest a rare talent. But his laidback, friendly attitude belies a fierce dedication to the game, and Raza has earned his place in this team. He averaged 52.40 in the List A season leading to his debut against Bangladesh in May, but his results during that tour were modest and he'll be keen to make an impact.

Team news

Zimbabwe are picking from a fully-fit 17-man squad, and coach Andy Waller confirmed that Ray Price is, in fact, in the group, but it's unlikely he'll play in the opening match. The host's nets session on Monday also suggested a settled top six, but there are nine bowlers bottlenecking into four slots down the order. A balanced attack seems the most sensible option, and Tinotenda Mutombodzi looked the best of the spinners during training.

Zimbabwe (likely): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Sikandar Raza, 3 Hamilton Masakadza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Tinotenda Mutombodzi, 10 Kyle Jarvis, 11 Brian Vitori

Like Zimbabwe, India's scope for experimentation - at least in the series opener - is in their bowling group. Amit Mishra's experience will be valuable to the young attack, while the combination of Vinay Kumar and Jaydev Unadkat would add variety. The most open position is that vacated by R Ashwin at No. 8, and offspinning allrounder Parvez Rasool could be in line to become the first player from India's Kashmir valley to represent the national side.

India (likely): 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Rohit Sharma, 3 Cheteshwar Pujara, 4 Virat Kohli (capt), 5 Suresh Raina, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 Parvez Rasool , 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Vinay Kumar, 11 Jaydev Unadkat

Pitch and conditions

Winters in Zimbabwe are cold and dry and usually the pitches reflect this, favouring spin over seam and playing a little on the slow side. The track for Wednesday's game has been very well watered, however, and the groundstaff have left some grass on it to negate the potential for drying and crumbling. New ball bowlers may well profit in the first hour, with the games due to start somewhat early at 9am, but the wicket should have the pace to allow for shot-making.

Stats and trivia

  • Despite some notable successes, such as at the 1999 World Cup, Zimbabwe have only beaten India in 10 out of the 51 ODIs they've played against them since 1983.
  • The first obstacle for Zimbabwe's bowlers in a daunting Indian batting line-up will be the opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, who average 57.72 in partnership and have put together three century stands.
  • Of Zimbabwe's current batsmen, captain Brendan Taylor has by far the best record against India in ODIs, with 184 runs at 46 against them in four games.

Quotes

"Our top six are quite settled, and I'd like to think they know they're in that position, but we've obviously got a spare batter sitting waiting to move in. But I think they'll have a decent run."
Zimbabwe have had a long time to prepare for this series, and coach Andrew Waller is putting his faith in his batsmen.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SamWintson92 on July 23, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    My team for 1st ODI: IND XI: 1 Dhawan 2 Rohit 3 Kohli (C) 4 Pujara 5 Raina 6 Karthik (WK) 7 Jadeja 8 Mishra 9 Vinay 10 Mohit 11 Shami. ZIM XI: 1 Taylor (C WK) 2 Williams 3 Raza 4 Masakadza 5 Sibanda 6 Waller 7 Chigumbura 8 Mutombodzi 9 Price 10 Vitori 11 Chatara. For IND: a) Ind shouldn't play Rasool as a front line spinner. He's a batting allrounder, backup of Jadeja. I would've opted for Yuvraj Singh as for this role he was awarded the man of the tournament of WC 2011 b) I would've taken Sehwag & Gambhir in the squad to get their form back as well as trying out potential young fringe players. It just doesn't feel right how Ind discarded the services of Yuvraj, Sehwag & Gambhir have put on over the years for Ind c) Kohli should've given rest as well. He's playing continuous cricket for quite a while. There're loads of time to test his captaincy skills. I would've had Gambhir back in the team as captain & projected Rohit Sharma as vice captain. For Zim: a) If Zim wants to show compete, Zim should alter their batting order. Zim should open with their best 2 batsmen, Taylor & Williams b) Masakadza & Sibanda should bat in the middle order at 4 & 5 respectively c) Although Jarvis's a wicket taker, he's more suited to tests. Zim can't afford a luxury of Jarvis in the ODIs who's expensive d) Utseya shouldn't be in the XI. He averages 47 with the ball in the ODIs which is very poor. Price & Mutumbodzi should be the front line spinners e) It's surprising that Zim is overlooking aggressive & experienced Raymond Price.

  • TheShawshankRedemption on July 23, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    This is by far the best chance to test Kohli's captaincy skills. Will he have his temperament to attack and his selection of that bowling all rounder in this 5 match series will be interesting. Will he have influence of Dhoni (in his captain-ship) also be interesting to see. Dinesh will make his final appearance as Wicketkeeper batsman for India if does not get runs. Raina and Indian middle order have great chance to spend time at the middle. Taylor too has one final chance to give an upset to No. 1 ODI side. Indian bowling is not that strong and Zim have 7 seven good batsman as well. If I was Kohli, will not under estimate Zim because Indian middle order and its bowling unit is not the same without MSD and Bhuvi.

  • Haleos on July 24, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @ Kannan18 - ur own dravid was worse. But now he is termed a great. Check Pujara's List A records before maoning or you would rather have guys like Vijayi, karthilk, Mukunda et al?

  • Naresh28 on July 24, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @blade_runner - check India U19 vs SL thats where you should be commenting on. vijay Zol has scored a good 169 against your team. Anyway in this match I dont know why Pujara is being sidelined again. Since this is a learning trip, we should rotate the subs into the team.

  • spot_on on July 24, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    Unadkat, a proven failure in local circuit gets a go ahead of Mohit !! Nice , Mr Kohli. Why not Rasool ahead of Mishra. Could have added some batting power down the order. Mishra is another flop considering the chances which he had got. God save India from Kohli. I'd be glad if Jaddu had been the VC of Indian cricket. Kohli needs to get his thinking and attitude right!

  • attanayake1 on July 24, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    As a pakistani fan i think young indians should learn how to handle tough situations from players like umar akmal. anyway good luck for india. hope they still can win without dhoni

  • on July 24, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    I think Buluwayo is more swinging and seaming compared to Harare. Mohit Sharma has to fit in for Bhuvanesh Kumar and the Indian batsmen should not be overconfident.

    OK

  • sichu_emerald on July 24, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @SamWintson92, loved every sentence and suggestion of yours, spot on, a thorough study might only can put you in a position to comment on individual players...beautiful home work, keep doing it mate, it is an absolute treat to read such stats from a fan, may be you would've done in the past which i failed to notice.

    Cricinfo has comeup with a very good idea of featured comment with which only myself and several fans could notice good comments in a glance such as yours.

    @bladerunner and some of my fellow Indian fans, take a leaf or two from samWinston92's comment, if you guys are to show patriotism, there are ways to do, I humbly request you guys to approach Government Depts such as ARMY, NAVY, ARIFORCE to defend their respective nation, not by words.:)P Cricinfo Pls publish...

  • on July 24, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    pujara in the Squadi is indeed..bcos kohli batting at no 3,raina and karthik batting well @ 4,5 respectively ..no need of pujara..he is not slogger to play @ 6,7..bad selection..indian cricket team failed to give a chance for promising youngsters..first time mishra at the age of 31 get the chance to play all the match in this series despite injury ..super selection from BCCI....

  • on July 24, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    I think Kohli should give the chance to the players. For Bowling Mohit and Vinay Kumar and for spin they should give the chance to Prvez with Amit. Batting line up will be as usual Pujara will get a break in ODI. All the best Zimbabwe. India is going to rock in all 5 ODI.

  • SamWintson92 on July 23, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    My team for 1st ODI: IND XI: 1 Dhawan 2 Rohit 3 Kohli (C) 4 Pujara 5 Raina 6 Karthik (WK) 7 Jadeja 8 Mishra 9 Vinay 10 Mohit 11 Shami. ZIM XI: 1 Taylor (C WK) 2 Williams 3 Raza 4 Masakadza 5 Sibanda 6 Waller 7 Chigumbura 8 Mutombodzi 9 Price 10 Vitori 11 Chatara. For IND: a) Ind shouldn't play Rasool as a front line spinner. He's a batting allrounder, backup of Jadeja. I would've opted for Yuvraj Singh as for this role he was awarded the man of the tournament of WC 2011 b) I would've taken Sehwag & Gambhir in the squad to get their form back as well as trying out potential young fringe players. It just doesn't feel right how Ind discarded the services of Yuvraj, Sehwag & Gambhir have put on over the years for Ind c) Kohli should've given rest as well. He's playing continuous cricket for quite a while. There're loads of time to test his captaincy skills. I would've had Gambhir back in the team as captain & projected Rohit Sharma as vice captain. For Zim: a) If Zim wants to show compete, Zim should alter their batting order. Zim should open with their best 2 batsmen, Taylor & Williams b) Masakadza & Sibanda should bat in the middle order at 4 & 5 respectively c) Although Jarvis's a wicket taker, he's more suited to tests. Zim can't afford a luxury of Jarvis in the ODIs who's expensive d) Utseya shouldn't be in the XI. He averages 47 with the ball in the ODIs which is very poor. Price & Mutumbodzi should be the front line spinners e) It's surprising that Zim is overlooking aggressive & experienced Raymond Price.

  • TheShawshankRedemption on July 23, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    This is by far the best chance to test Kohli's captaincy skills. Will he have his temperament to attack and his selection of that bowling all rounder in this 5 match series will be interesting. Will he have influence of Dhoni (in his captain-ship) also be interesting to see. Dinesh will make his final appearance as Wicketkeeper batsman for India if does not get runs. Raina and Indian middle order have great chance to spend time at the middle. Taylor too has one final chance to give an upset to No. 1 ODI side. Indian bowling is not that strong and Zim have 7 seven good batsman as well. If I was Kohli, will not under estimate Zim because Indian middle order and its bowling unit is not the same without MSD and Bhuvi.

  • Haleos on July 24, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    @ Kannan18 - ur own dravid was worse. But now he is termed a great. Check Pujara's List A records before maoning or you would rather have guys like Vijayi, karthilk, Mukunda et al?

  • Naresh28 on July 24, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @blade_runner - check India U19 vs SL thats where you should be commenting on. vijay Zol has scored a good 169 against your team. Anyway in this match I dont know why Pujara is being sidelined again. Since this is a learning trip, we should rotate the subs into the team.

  • spot_on on July 24, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    Unadkat, a proven failure in local circuit gets a go ahead of Mohit !! Nice , Mr Kohli. Why not Rasool ahead of Mishra. Could have added some batting power down the order. Mishra is another flop considering the chances which he had got. God save India from Kohli. I'd be glad if Jaddu had been the VC of Indian cricket. Kohli needs to get his thinking and attitude right!

  • attanayake1 on July 24, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    As a pakistani fan i think young indians should learn how to handle tough situations from players like umar akmal. anyway good luck for india. hope they still can win without dhoni

  • on July 24, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    I think Buluwayo is more swinging and seaming compared to Harare. Mohit Sharma has to fit in for Bhuvanesh Kumar and the Indian batsmen should not be overconfident.

    OK

  • sichu_emerald on July 24, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @SamWintson92, loved every sentence and suggestion of yours, spot on, a thorough study might only can put you in a position to comment on individual players...beautiful home work, keep doing it mate, it is an absolute treat to read such stats from a fan, may be you would've done in the past which i failed to notice.

    Cricinfo has comeup with a very good idea of featured comment with which only myself and several fans could notice good comments in a glance such as yours.

    @bladerunner and some of my fellow Indian fans, take a leaf or two from samWinston92's comment, if you guys are to show patriotism, there are ways to do, I humbly request you guys to approach Government Depts such as ARMY, NAVY, ARIFORCE to defend their respective nation, not by words.:)P Cricinfo Pls publish...

  • on July 24, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    pujara in the Squadi is indeed..bcos kohli batting at no 3,raina and karthik batting well @ 4,5 respectively ..no need of pujara..he is not slogger to play @ 6,7..bad selection..indian cricket team failed to give a chance for promising youngsters..first time mishra at the age of 31 get the chance to play all the match in this series despite injury ..super selection from BCCI....

  • on July 24, 2013, 5:50 GMT

    I think Kohli should give the chance to the players. For Bowling Mohit and Vinay Kumar and for spin they should give the chance to Prvez with Amit. Batting line up will be as usual Pujara will get a break in ODI. All the best Zimbabwe. India is going to rock in all 5 ODI.

  • 2009SHAMZ on July 24, 2013, 5:26 GMT

    Pujara set to get a tast of ODIs, will Rayudu get a look-in. this is a series which can be make-or-break for Dinesh Karthik too. after impressing in CT13, he had a poor run in the West Indies. all eyes on Rasool too!

  • MeijiMura on July 24, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    With India's superstar batting line-up, even without the likes of Dhoni in it, I see them making some very big scores in the series.

    Zimbabwe's best chance of an upset rests with them winning the toss and bowling first. It is always more difficult batting first in Zimbabwe due to the early starts and the fact that any assistance from the pitch will be enjoyed by the team bowling first.

    In the afternoon the pitch and the outfield tend to dry out and quicken up and there is very little assistance for the bowlers.

    It is definitely easier batting second so Zimbabwe need to bowl first and get the ball in the right areas early on to try and put India under some pressure in the first hour or two.

    I don't think Zimbabwe will be able to restrict India chasing no matter how many they make.

    Winning the toss and bowling first is the way to go in all five ODIs for Zimbabwe.

  • anoop3301 on July 24, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    @ Blade-runner : Wrong column mate. You should be posting in SL-SA column. I am not going to say here that AB or Amla needs to score a century for SA to win cricket matches because SL depends on familiar conditions more than any other nation to win matches.

  • Iceman29 on July 24, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner: Buddy no matter how many times we mercilessly beat ur team around the globe you are again and again watching and commenting about Ind team in every forum...wow hats off to you mate...this shows how much pain Ind team has inflicted on you guys....lol

  • SHER-A-PANJAB on July 24, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    WHATEVER the result ...I heartly appericiate INDIAN BOARD and TEAM , they are playing in Zimbabwe to save Zimbabwe cricket and give some entertainment to the people (there )..because these days African cricket has not much life ..So ICC should call for 4 NATIONS TROPHY to save KENYAN and ZIM. cricket...good luck

  • on July 24, 2013, 2:41 GMT

    Good Challenge for youngsters.

  • on July 24, 2013, 0:49 GMT

    Wish You All Success India Cricket Team for Today's match against Zimbabwe at Harare. (Y) :)

  • AhmedEsat on July 23, 2013, 23:38 GMT

    The last time India were here they lost to Zimbabwe!

  • bbnn on July 23, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    With two new balls we should go with three pacers that is Vinay , Shami and Mohith then we have Jadeja and Rasool So,Dhawan Rohith Kohli PuJara/Raydu Karthik Raina will make the full eleven

  • Blade-Runner on July 23, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    A blazing century from Taylor or Masakadza on the card and so is the massive Zim win. G'luck !!!

  • on July 23, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    I think this should be the playing 11 for tomorrow: 1-dhawan 2-rohit 3-pujara 4-kohli 5-rayudu 6-raina 7-karthik 8-jadeja 9-rasol 10-vinay kumar 11-mohit sharma but i think kohli won't let mohit sharma play he will allow that garbage unadkat to play since they both played for rcb if he allows unadkat i am afraid india will lose their first odi match.

  • on July 23, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    With 2 spinning all-rounders, the side for Kohli should be -

    4 Batsmen, Keeper, 2 Allrounders & 4 bowlers.

    Dhawan, Sharma, Pujara, Kohli, DK, Jadeja, Rasool, Mishra, Jaydev, Mohit Sharma, Vinay.

  • on July 23, 2013, 19:11 GMT

    1 chane india should do if they can...they should give a chance to someone new rather than suresh raina....

  • on July 23, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    I wonder what shikhar dhawan and jadeja has to do to prove they are top class opener and spinner. There was no need for them to be included in the squad. Would be better to rest them and let Karthik/Rahane/Raina/Pujara fight out for the positions, also i think selectors overlooked Manoj Tiwary. Virat should rest Shikhar Dhawan and Jadeja and give chance to other batsman my team would be. 1.Rahane(opener), 2.Rohit Sharma, 3.Virat, 4.Pujara, 5.Raina, 6. Dinesh Karthik, 7.Amit Mishra, 8.Mohit Sharma, 9.Vinay Kumar, 10.Shami Ahmed,11. Rasool Pervez

  • UNIVERSAL_CRICKETER on July 23, 2013, 18:31 GMT

    Yes India should win the series....but the important thing is which new talent is found in these matches... India is here to test their bench strength & giving opportunities to new/ fringe players should be its 1st priority...

  • on July 23, 2013, 18:24 GMT

    where is rayudu

  • warneneverchuck on July 23, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    My prediction is india winning the series but hoping that zim wil provide some tough fight and make the series more competitive than it what it looks now

  • on July 23, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    R.Sharma,S.Dhawan,C.Pujara,V.Kholi,S.Raina/A.Rahane, D.Karthik,R.Jadeja,P.Rasool,A.mishra,Unadkat,Mohit Sharma.

  • JVedi on July 23, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    My Team: Dhawan, R Sharma, Pujara,Kohli,Raina,Kartik,Jadeja,Ashwin,Razool,Unadkat,Vinay Kumar

  • VJGS on July 23, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    How is this a good indicator of Kohli's captaincy? He already proved his mettle in West Indies, and this is just a series against Zimbabve. Even with a second string side, India can beat them without a captain. I'm not trying to undermine Zimbabve (afterall, they did produce a couple of wonderful players), but I'm only stating the obvious - that Zimbabve are not yet a force to reckon with in the game of Cricket at the moment.

  • on July 23, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    According to me India's best 11 will be Rohit Sharma,Sikhar Dhawan,Virat Kohli,Cheteswar Pujara,Suresh Raina,Dinesh Karthik,Ravindra Jadeja,Parveez Rasool,Amit Sharma,R vinay Kumar,Mohit Sharma

  • on July 23, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    lndia wiill the win in the toornamrnt

  • karthik9952435259 on July 23, 2013, 16:28 GMT

    I see some of u guys put teams on ur thoughts...i too doing the same. Give rahane a complete 5 match chance even not established in the first three. Rest of shikhar,jadeja can make way for rayudu and rasool. Also drop vinay for first 3 games and so mohit can well use of it. ufff my probables rahane, pujara, virat, karthik, raina, rayudu, rasool, amit mishra, unadkat, mohit,shami. The reason why i choose this is? hmm simple if rohit, dhawan, jadeja, then no use and no conclusion will be achieved. Because rohit will face 75 knee below balls from less famed zim attack and may score 60+ so nothing is there to include.we have to check his foot movements and that not possible here and only in swinging english, auusie and southafrica is good. so India A tour may help him. I dont know why they include dhawan and jadeja in this team. Similarly vinay is a run containing bowler and not a wicket striking one. so even if got some here also should explode in south africa.Let see ...

  • Nampally on July 23, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Your assessment Of Pujara being delayed his entry into ODI is right on. He is easily the best Indian batsman in both the Tests & ODI format. Reliability to play any bowling is his hallmark. He has sound defence, excellent all round strokes & a super big match temperament. He is #1 in Test batting average for India, albeit he has played only about 10 Tests. Only Gavaskar had comparable average this early in his Test career. His ODI average of 57 in List A cricket is also way ahead of others. So his entry is great sign for India which will please all knowledgeable Cricket fans.. I hope Mohit Sharma gets into XI because he is another best talent who needs to prove himself. Rasool will be a fine back up for Ashwin. Rest of the team is almost the same as Indian XI minus Dhoni (+ expensive Ishant & Yadev). So I do not see many problems being encountered for this well balanced side to win matches. Lets Go Young India. Prove your talent with your on-field performance & do India proud of you.

  • usernames on July 23, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    I'd go with Rahane, Rohit, Kohli, Pujara, Rayudu, Raina, Jadeja, Rasool, Mishra, Unadkat, Mohit. You can rest Dhawan for a match or two to give Rahane a go. Rayudu should replace Karthik; again, for only one or two matches to see how he goes. I'd not play Vinay for now.

  • on July 23, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    My pick for the 1st game:

    Dhawan, Rohit, Pujara, Kohli, Raina, Rayudu,Jadeja, Rasool, Mohit/Vinay, Unadkat, Shami. Really dont see much point in playing Raina tbh, we need to try as many new players and back them up by giving enough chances on tours like these.

    Ishant and Umesh are clear failures after getting so many games and the sooner we find fast bowling options to partner Bhuvanesh Kumar, the better for the country

  • Kannan18 on July 23, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    IMHO, Pujara is just over-rated player for the short format. Or atleast he hasnt shown any glimpses yet of any skills that would sustain him on a long run in 50 over games ( no chance in 20/20). The only time he can be effective is when there is a collapse and some one needs to stay there supporting, but that still needs a match winner at other end. He cannot do it alone. Again not worth keeping some one in team just for disaster recovery only.

  • TRAM on July 23, 2013, 14:00 GMT

    For India players this is a bad tour, because, if they perform it will not be considered great since the opposition is weak. On the other hand if they fail, it will be a big de-merit. So, there is only the possibility of some heads chopped after this tour.

  • coldcoffee123 on July 23, 2013, 13:53 GMT

    India needs to cut down on ODI and T20 cricket. And play more Test cricket. Test cricket is more fascinating as the events unfurl slowly, like the plot of a mystery novel. It separates men from boys. It will also make sure Indian cricket doe not go the Aussie way, where in the domestic cricket the best batting averages have fallen to mid 30's. Test are so much more enjoyable as a game, gives you a lot of time to appreciate the efforts of a batsman trying to cope up with a hostile bowling attack or a spitting wicket. Watching a bowler setting up a batsman is like being on a safari and watching with bated breath a lion setting up for his kill. In a typical season, India needs to be playing 50% of its cricket in the form of Tests.

  • Cyril_Knight on July 23, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    For anyone questioning the value of this tour, it is vital. It secures the allegiance of the Zimbabwe Board, they will vote with India on key issues. This is all it is for.

    On the field the benefit is less clear. Kohli is in a no win situation. The minimum expectation is that India win easily and Kohli captains well. Anything less must be seen as failure. Zimbabwe are a terrible side and would be beaten by any first class team from ENG, IND, AUS, RSA and probably WIN and NZL. It is difficult to see what hard cricket Kohli will be tested against.

  • on July 23, 2013, 13:28 GMT

    Best XI :- Rohit Sharma, Shikar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), C.Pujara, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Parvez Rasool, Vinay Kumar, Shami Ahmad, Mohit Sharma

  • zimbozombie on July 23, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Finally Cheteshwar Pujara gets a look in,if there was one player who deserved to be selected in the odi squad it was this guy,he's proved his mettle in the tests and showed to the cricketing fraternity that he belongs at this level .I'm sure he'l come off good for this new looking Indian side touring Zimbabwe

  • on July 23, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    In India youngsters play very good cricket. Under 19 players are readily picking up the stick. The elders should make way for them to flourish as otherwise India will be following inline with Australia even England where elders continue to dominate. India is rightly and slowly switching over and there should not be any mercy in this respect. Kohli deserves to be captain for sometime replacing Dhoni

  • Hate.ME on July 23, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Curious to see Pervez Rasool. If he does make it to playing XI, it will be a proud moment for all KASHMIRIS as, I guess, he will be the first person to represent Team India from this part of the nation.

  • IndianCoolGuy on July 23, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    My playing 11 would be: 1) Shikhar Dhavan 2) Rohit Sharma 3) Kohli 4) Pujara 5) Raina 6) Dinesh 7) Jadeja 8) Rasool 9) Vinay Kumar 10) Mohit Sharma 11) Unadkad Though I wish Rayudu to be there in the team, but Pujara is my first choice. Even in the regular Indian team I pick Pujara for sure. He is a solid reliable batsmen. I wish Yuvraj to gain some fitness, because he is the 2nd best match finisher for India after Dhoni. Think the lineup Dhavan, Rohit, Kohli, Pujara, Yuvrai, MSD, Raina,Jadeja.

  • shouvicic on July 23, 2013, 12:42 GMT

    Really don't know the necessity of this trip. India has been playing too many games this year and probably after winning the Champions Trophy, was the right time for them to rest. I would credit this trip only when we can carry forward few of the early buds into SA trip in November. I would love to see some exciting performance from Parvez Rasool and Pujara.

  • brusselslion on July 23, 2013, 12:40 GMT

    What is pretty clear is that the BCCI have effectively given up on the longer form of the game (Test cricket). India's next Test starts on 26 December, which means that it will have been the best part of a year since the last one. OK the Ranji Trophy takes place in Oct./Nov, but at the same time as yet another ODI series, so how many of the international players are likely to feature?

    IMO the chances of India winning the Test series in SA, even with ideal preparation, wouldn't have great. With this lack of 4/5 day matchplay, it's probably almost non-existent.

  • raja5b6 on July 23, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    Ambati Rayudu despite some decent performances in IPL is noting making it to the team...i suggest they shld go in with him rather than Vijay now that the opening slots are filled up nicely..

  • wolf777 on July 23, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    'It's hard to believe it's taken this long for Cheteshwar Pujara to force his way into ODI contention for India, considering his eye-catching short format statistics '...Oh well it is hard to believe that Rohit Sharma got so many chances despite his statistics as well...Pujara even had to warm bench so that Rohit Sharma could play earlier this year against England!. Rohit Sharma got chance to go to England to play Champions Trophy despite his stats while Pujara watched monsoon rain in Rajkot despite his stats…that's Indian selection Penal for you…

  • pratit on July 23, 2013, 12:02 GMT

    I do not think Jaydev Unadkat has it in him to succeed at the international level. I could be wrong but I think a hit-the-deck kind of bowler who does not really swing it and bowls at 130kph is cannon fodder for the top batsmen.

  • A.Ak on July 23, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    MVjay deserves some games considering he has done nothing wrong other top scoring in his last international series.

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    I will opt for three pacers in the team- Vinay, Jaydev & Mohit sharma. Will choose one spinner- Amit mishra in the place of Ashwin.I hope mishra together with jadeja is enough...

  • TM on July 23, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    This is a chance for rohit to score atleast 2 hundreds so he can get the no 6 slot on the tour of SA

  • on July 23, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    Its high time the team comes of age and shrugs off the minnows tag. pulling off a surprise win here and there is not enough anymore. we really need to start stringing together a chain of victories against high profile opposition, so that we move away from the bottom of the ladder. Surely the talent and experience is not lacking. All the boys need is a bit of self belief

  • anubhav31 on July 23, 2013, 10:12 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner even u19 team of India is thrashing Sl , I am so bored of SL thrashing lol

  • kc69 on July 23, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    @Sujaudin Khokhar: Irfan Pathan was injured at the start of WI ODI Tri Series (Don't know how). But I agree he would have been a better #8 player and could have made most of this tour. @Blade-Runner:You are showing your Sri-Lankan spirit...lol...keep following Indian cricket waiting for India's defeat.

  • on July 23, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    india have to pick s sreesanth for upcoming south Africa series. he is a world class fast bowler..

  • on July 23, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Well every series is important and specially with a few youngesters making debut it makes a good chance for them to present there case. I think Amit Mishra has got a chance to show his class and experience and put a case for the forthcoming South African tour. Much anticipated debut of Cheteshwar Pujara will hopefully turn into reality and with the kind of cricket pupil he is we can expect some mamoth innings from this Saurastrian. India should never take things lightly in Zimbabwe as champions should always play like champions and should keep improving as a team and individuals. And this is the only way to reach the numero uno position and maintain it.

  • Srini_Indian on July 23, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    This should be a good and an important series for both teams particularly Zimbabwe. It is a good opportunity for India to give exposure to its fringe players and a great opportunity for Zimbabwe to play cricket against a champion side. Zimbabwe in home is a very good side and India should know this. Expecting a very good series. Good luck to both teams.

  • sachinisawesome on July 23, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    @ Blade-Runner I have been following your comments for quite a while and you always predict India will lose by this margin that margin and when India wins specially against your country(Sri Lanka). You come up with lame excuses. It will be good if you look at your current captain(Chandimal) who will not even be picked in any other team and our current captain(Kohli) Who is the best one day batsman of the world and has thrashed your team all over the world. Please dont just talk about real facts look at them as well. This B Indian side can easily beat Sri Lanka. Your team only wins at home and that also only after your big three perform. In the last 16 matches we have won 11 against your team. And most of those matches were one sided where we won with 8 wickets in hand or with 10 overs to spare. But u never talk about them all u will talk about for next 2 years your rare win against us. Please open your eyes...

  • Iceman29 on July 23, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    @ZCF_Outkast: I like ur confidence but lets c if ur team can do that on the field to this young and inexperienced Ind side...love to watch a close match..

  • on July 23, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    I just dont understand this hype. There is nothing to be auditioned here. India is playing a very weak Zimbabwe and its obvious they are going to win. Even any U19 team from any test playing nation would give a good run for this Zim team. In terms of age Indians might be young but they are quiet experienced and been around for a long time in IPL and what not.

  • on July 23, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    Where is Irfan? i think I.pathan is better then Amit mishra he can do batting also.

  • ZCFOutkast on July 23, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    A lot hinges on the magic a healthy Vitori can whip with his left hand. If he hits the right areas, enough damage will be done early to ensure Utseya&Chigumbura suffocate the Indian middle order later on. Elton is very proficient against left handers, so with Raina&Jadeja a huge part of it, I can't see India recovering from the loses of Pujara, Dhawan&Kholi once Vitori is done. If I were Taylor, I'd be more than happy to let Rohit 'Misbah' Sharma bat through!

    Should Price play? Yes, I think he should play all 3 games in Harare alongside Utseya. It's pretty clear one from Jarvis/Chatara/Chinouya will regularly partner Vitori, so runs are in the offing for the Indians if they bat long.

    Once the series heads to Bulawayo it would be wise to drop all present seamers in the squad and bring back Mpofu, Rainsford&Panyangara(Shingi should've played in Harare). Many records may be in danger!

    Our batting worries me, but I hope they surprise me. Will reserve judgement till after the first game.

  • Ankitsuperking on July 23, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    If Pujara plays than it would be tricky decision to decide where he should bat. To get best out of him he has to be in Top 3. But i don't think india will disturb the opening pair.And Kohli himself is at his best at number 3. It is likely that Kohli will move to 4th position.

  • jay_vkjay on July 23, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    Good to see young side led by a young captain. With Jadeja around,I don't think 2 specialist spinners will play. Pujara almost a certain in starting XI. With 2 new balls around, it won't be a bad idea to try Pujara at no.3. But Hard to push Kohli down. He is the best lot at No.3. Its a dilemma for team management. With Bhuvaneshwar not around, Mohit Sharma can exploit new ball. Good luck team India.......

  • Night_Fury on July 23, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    @Blade-Runner..which country r u from dude.. i was laughing crazy reading your comment. I am an Indian and i think y not say 5-0 to Zim. lol

  • Wahlberg on July 23, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    Pujara can easily claim the accumulating middle order position which is now with DK as a WK but when Dhoni comes back it can be a race between Pujara and DK only when Pujara gets runs in this series

  • Blade-Runner on July 23, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    @IndianCoolGuy ; It seems you have conveniently forgotten the 161-thrashing you suffered a few weeks ago. :)) Btw my comment based on pure facts. Zim have a very good pace attack with the likes of Javis n Vitori. They've got a decent top batting order as well. And they always do well at home. You know what happened in 2010 . Right ??? So Don't be so overconfident.

  • on July 23, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Bhubneswar kumar should have been picked. The pitch and condition should have favoured him. He has not played that many ODI's to be given rest. Indian bowling is inexperienced and he have been a good choice in these condition.

  • Haleos on July 23, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    Sikandar Raza, zimbabwe's own import. It is a good thing. I always felt wannabe cricketers who do not get enough chances in their home country should migrate to other nations in need. Win-win situation for all.

  • on July 23, 2013, 7:03 GMT

    1.Shikhar Dhawan 2.Rohit Sharma 3.Virat Kohli 4.Dinesh Karthik 5.Ambati Rayudu 6.Suresh Raina 7.Ravindra Jadeja 8.Vinay Kumar9.Jaydev Unadkat 10.Mohammed Shami 11.Amit Mishra Best 11 ........

  • LovedFansofIndianCricket on July 23, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    Do or die for Raina. Do well Raina. Rasool, Rayadu and Pujara are behind you. All the best Raina and Team India.

  • IndianCoolGuy on July 23, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    @ Blade-Runne : Good to see you are keeping an eye on Zim and Ind match as well. I am surprised knowing the truth that India has brutally beaten SL 11 times out of last 16 encounters, you still think Zim can beat India? what are you saying ? that means SL is weaker than Zim? may be you are right mate. Zim is far stronger than SL.

  • Faisal_Nazir on July 23, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Rasool is a actually a classy batsmen who has been J&K's main saviour with the bat!India need to use his allround ability.Hope he does well!

  • KishorKumar25 on July 23, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Raina and Jadeja, would have been rested for this series.

  • on July 23, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    team india should be like this dhawan.sharma.kholi.pujara.kartik.raina.jadeja.rasool.vkumar.msharma.unadkat. why play with mishra if we have quality spin allrounder if needed rain also use as part time spinar kholi also availability to bowl

  • FNS18 on July 23, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    What about poor Ajinkya Rahane? In the past he has been asked to open in ODI's but had limited success. Actually he is a middle order batsman. Rahane & Pujara will bring some stability to middle order. India needs to start thing about the next World Cup which is ~18 months away.

  • Blade-Runner on July 23, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    I think that Zimbabwe are favorites in this close encounter. Since they have improved vastly over the last couple of years, I predict Zimbabwe to win the series 3-2. G'luck to both teams !!!

  • satishchandar on July 23, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    I think team would go in with three semaers with Mishra playing as lead spinner with Jadeja.. It wont make sense to go with 3 spinners especially when you got Raina and Rohit who can bowl decent spin bowling when conditions favor. DK should move one slot down to 5 to accomodate Pujara in at 4.. Rohit, Dhawan, Virat, Pujara, DK, Raina, RJ, Mishra, Vinay, Unandkat, Shammi Ahmed.. I would go in with this starting 11.. All three Rahane, Rayudu and Rasool should get in atleast 2-3 chances as the tour progress.. They are very good prospects for future in case of any injuries to top order bats.. Would rest Rohit/Raina/one pacer to accommodate these guys into the 11..

  • NP_NY on July 23, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    The batting unit is the same except for Dhoni, and Pujara is a solid batsman. The challenge will be the bowling unit that is missing the three first choice pacemen and (debatably) the first choice spnner in Ashwin. Good chance for Rasool and I (like most Indian fans) are counting on him not just for this series but also for future tournaments.

  • VVSR92 on July 23, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    Ind shoul try out all players & give them a chance to push forward their case of a regular odi team spot .

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Need to provide every squad member a game or two, the probable 11 you have mentioned above might be the best one to play with for the first game, probably we can play a seamer instead of Rasool for the first game, and if the pitch slows up then can use a third spinner for the 2nd game!!

  • YGSEETHARAM on July 23, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    Hope Ambati Rayudu gets a look-in pretty soon; he is an awesome talen

  • YGSEETHARAM on July 23, 2013, 4:44 GMT

    Hope Ambati Rayudu gets a look-in pretty soon; he is an awesome talen

  • Narbavi on July 23, 2013, 5:01 GMT

    Need to provide every squad member a game or two, the probable 11 you have mentioned above might be the best one to play with for the first game, probably we can play a seamer instead of Rasool for the first game, and if the pitch slows up then can use a third spinner for the 2nd game!!

  • VVSR92 on July 23, 2013, 5:11 GMT

    Ind shoul try out all players & give them a chance to push forward their case of a regular odi team spot .

  • NP_NY on July 23, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    The batting unit is the same except for Dhoni, and Pujara is a solid batsman. The challenge will be the bowling unit that is missing the three first choice pacemen and (debatably) the first choice spnner in Ashwin. Good chance for Rasool and I (like most Indian fans) are counting on him not just for this series but also for future tournaments.

  • satishchandar on July 23, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    I think team would go in with three semaers with Mishra playing as lead spinner with Jadeja.. It wont make sense to go with 3 spinners especially when you got Raina and Rohit who can bowl decent spin bowling when conditions favor. DK should move one slot down to 5 to accomodate Pujara in at 4.. Rohit, Dhawan, Virat, Pujara, DK, Raina, RJ, Mishra, Vinay, Unandkat, Shammi Ahmed.. I would go in with this starting 11.. All three Rahane, Rayudu and Rasool should get in atleast 2-3 chances as the tour progress.. They are very good prospects for future in case of any injuries to top order bats.. Would rest Rohit/Raina/one pacer to accommodate these guys into the 11..

  • Blade-Runner on July 23, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    I think that Zimbabwe are favorites in this close encounter. Since they have improved vastly over the last couple of years, I predict Zimbabwe to win the series 3-2. G'luck to both teams !!!

  • FNS18 on July 23, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    What about poor Ajinkya Rahane? In the past he has been asked to open in ODI's but had limited success. Actually he is a middle order batsman. Rahane & Pujara will bring some stability to middle order. India needs to start thing about the next World Cup which is ~18 months away.

  • on July 23, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    team india should be like this dhawan.sharma.kholi.pujara.kartik.raina.jadeja.rasool.vkumar.msharma.unadkat. why play with mishra if we have quality spin allrounder if needed rain also use as part time spinar kholi also availability to bowl

  • KishorKumar25 on July 23, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    Raina and Jadeja, would have been rested for this series.

  • Faisal_Nazir on July 23, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    Rasool is a actually a classy batsmen who has been J&K's main saviour with the bat!India need to use his allround ability.Hope he does well!