February 5: New Zealand v India, 1st ODI, Hamilton

Our XI: KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Henry Nicholls, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Prithvi Shaw, Colin De Grandhomme, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ish Sodhi, Jasprit Bumrah

NOTE: Kane Williamson is out of the first two ODIs, and has been replaced with Mark Chapman, and Tom Latham is the New Zealand captain. Mayank Agarwal, meanwhile, has been called up as Rohit Sharma's injury replacement for India. We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates.

Captain: KL Rahul

In Sharma's absence, Rahul becomes the most important player for India at the top. He would be given a role to bat deep. Since January 2019, he has scored 718 runs at 47.86 with two centuries and four fifties.

Vice-captain: Virat Kohli

We are in the India captain's favourite format now. If India are to chase you could even make Kohli the captain. Kohli has five centuries against New Zealand and one of them in the country. He averages 57.88 and would be looking to continue his incredible consistency.

Hot picks

Mohammed Shami: In the 2019 ODI tour of New Zealand, Shami finished with nine wickets at an average of 15.33 from four matches. He bowled tight lines and lengths and got the better of the top-order batsmen routinely. Shami is the leading wicket-taker across the world in ODIs since that tour.

Kuldeep Yadav: Middle-over wickets are crucial and New Zealand's batsmen are likely to face Yadav in the ODIs more than Yuzvendra Chahal. In four matches last tour, Yadav picked eight wickets at 15.62 with two four-fors. Ravindra Jadeja's control at the other end could fetch Yadav the wickets.

Ross Taylor: Since 2017, Taylor averages 63.75. Only Sharma and Kohli have better averages among players to have scored 1000 or more runs in ODIs in this period. The ODI format suits Taylor perfectly, giving him enough time to build the innings and bat deep. Taylor averages 53.72 with two centuries and three fifties from 14 innings against India at home.

Value picks

Prithvi Shaw: Kohli has said that Shaw will make his ODI debut in the first game. Shaw had a dream start to his Test career and now has an opportunity to showcase his potential in the shorter format. Shaw plays without much fear and his recent form has been great. He scored 150 for India A against New Zealand A. It is worth picking Shaw in your team purely because if he gets going, he is likely to score big at a very quick speed.

Ish Sodhi: New Zealand will be going in to the match without some of their frontline pacers. There would be pressure on the spinners to strike in the middle and the onus might be on Sodhi. Since January 2018, Sodhi has taken 20 wickets at an average of 32.85 - best among New Zealand spinners. Make sure he is in the starting XI before picking him.

Point to note

  • New Zealand have won seven of the last eight ODIs at the venue with the last five games won by the chasing team. The average first-innings score is 236.