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Bangladesh vs India 2022: Top-order composition in focus as Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul jostle for opening spot

A consistent Shikhar Dhawan and a supremely talented KL Rahul will battle it out for the opener's slot even as a top-heavy Indian batting line-up will aim for transformation and show more intent against a gutsy Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series, starting Sunday.

Bangladesh vs India 2022: Top-order composition in focus as Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul jostle for opening spot snt
First Published Dec 4, 2022, 9:00 AM IST

In the three-match ODI series against a brave Bangladesh, which begins on Sunday in Mirpur, a top-heavy Indian batting lineup hopes to change and demonstrate more intent. Shikhar Dhawan, a reliable batsman, and KL Rahul, a supremely talented batsman, will compete for the opening position.

Throw a fabulously consistent young turk Shubman Gill (rested for this series) into the mix, and coach Rahul Dravid will struggle to fit in all the boxes of this jigsaw puzzle called Indian top-order.

The ODIs will be the main focus of the upcoming season, and like the T20Is, India's strategy for the 50-over format needs to be drastically altered. A multiplicity of choices isn't a good headache because it needs to be clarified for the team's rank and file.

The coach tries to give everyone an equal chance when players have similar skill sets, but this leads to a disorganised lineup, which could be better when a big game is coming up.

Also read: Bangladesh vs India 2022: Rohit Sharma says India will narrow down options closer to World Cup 2023

The Indian white-ball team is currently experiencing that particular stage. A few years ago, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan were chosen without much discussion as India's favoured opening tandem for one-day internationals. But there are certain to be opportunities given Dhawan's cautious attitude in the Powerplay overs and Gill's emergence as a strong 50-over opener.

KL Rahul played a few games in the middle order during the final stretch of Ravi Shastri's coaching tenure, but he prefers to bat at the top and has also enjoyed some success there. Regrettably, the numbers on the front of it will only provide a hazy idea of Rohit's opening partner for the series.

Dhawan, who batted first for India in 2022's 19 ODIs, had a dismal strike rate of 75.11. While it used to be 101 between 2016 and 2018, it decreased but held steady at 91 between 2019 and 21.

Rahul, who has five hundred and ten fifties in 45 ODIs with a healthy strike-rate 85 plus and an impressive average of 45, looks a better candidate.

Rahul would undoubtedly replace Rohit at the top for the first game, though, if the team management decides to rest a jet-lagged Dhawan who has travelled from Australia to join the team in Mirpur.

Middle-Order muddle

Shreyas Iyer is gradually becoming India's No. 4, while Virat Kohli is a given at No. 3. After his heroics during the ODI series in England, Rishabh Pant continues to start at No. 5 in the lineup ahead of Ishan Kishan. Although Pant has drawn criticism for some of his cheap dismissals in T20s, he is still the first-choice keeper in the 50-over format despite some underwhelming performances in the recently concluded series.

Also read: Bangladesh vs India 2022: Injured Shami ruled out of ODIs, Umran Malik to replace him

All three of Kishan's half-centuries in ODIs have come when batting at No. 3 or 4, although he loves opening in T20. Kishan is reportedly not considered a finisher, thus if he participates, he must be among the top four. Rahul has occasionally kept wickets, so if he decides to do so, the entire scenario could be turned on its head.

Rajat Patidar and Rahul Tripathi, two dependable players in domestic cricket and the IPL, will hope to stay in the mix now that Sanju Samson is not participating in this series. Tripathi also bowls some seam-up deliveries, so if Hardik Pandya isn't available (he was rested due to workload), the Pune native could serve as a backup.

Chance to test Umran's skills on dead tracks

Mohammed Shami's absence due to a shoulder injury opens the door for Umran Malik, who impressed in favourable conditions in New Zealand, to display a different aspect of his bowling because are anticipated to be batting-friendly.

The pitches will likely be slower. In their matchup with a Bangladesh team without a regular captain Tamim Iqbal, Deepak Chahar, Mohammed Siraj, and Shardul Thakur appear to be locked for the starting lineup.

The Indian squad shouldn't have forgotten the recent beating they took at the hands of newly-appointed ODI skipper Litton Das in an Adelaide T20 World Cup game. Although Litton would prefer to take the initiative, Taskin Ahmed will face the true challenge against the bowling of Bangladesh.

The assault of Mustafizur Rahaman, Ebadot Hossain, and Shakib Al Hasan is effective but not particularly formidable.

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India: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishan Kishan (wk), Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Kuldeep Sen, Umran Malik, Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Shahbaz Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj 

Bangladesh: Litton Kumer Das, Anamul Hague Bijoy, Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Afif Hossain, Yasir All Chowdhury, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, Taskin Ahmed, Hasan Mahmud, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Nasum Ahmed, Mahmud Ullah, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Quazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Shoriful Islam. 

Match Starts: 11:30 am IST.

(With inputs from PTI)

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