India captain Virat Kohli has confirmed ODI debutants Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw will open the batting in Wednesday's series opener against New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton.
Agarwal and Shaw have been capped at Test level, but not in ODI cricket. Agarwal was added to the squad in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma. He sustained a calf injury during Sunday's fifth and final T20I against New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui – and has been ruled out of the rest of the tour.
Kohli, too, confirmed the retention of wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul in the middle order. He opened the batting in the T20Is againt New Zealand. Bet365 have India offered at 1.44 to win the first ODI.
What Kohli said
“Prithvi and Mayank will definitely start as openers. We are looking to stick to that same plan. It's an unfortunate situation that Rohit can't be a part of this series. In all formats, he's on the list first and the impact he's had is there for everyone to see,” said Kohli.
“We don't have any one-day tournaments to look forward to so it's an ideal time for him to go away and rectify this as soon as he can. He played the T20I series, so from the team's balance perspective heading into a World Cup year, it doesn't hamper combinations.
“We've had five T20Is already, so it's not like we don't have a lot of T20 cricket coming up. We have the Indian Premier League as well, so we'll probably utilise that to prepare for the World Cup. Last year, we didn't have much opportunity to prepare ourselves for the 50-over World Cup except for the games in front of you.”
Australia will host the T20 World Cup later this year. India have been grouped with Afghanistan, England, South Africa and two qualifying teams for the tournament. India won the first World Twenty20 (since renamed the T20 World Cup) in South Africa in 2007. They beat Pakistan in that final. India will host the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“These things are all about creating good habits for different formats and then being able to switch. We're not looking at preparing for the T20 World Cup through this series. The IPL will be the right platform for that,” added Kohli.