After the nail-biting one-off Test match between England and India where both the teams shared the points, they will take on each other Sunday for the First ODI. While both the teams lies in contrast, in the case of their last series, England would not take India lightly. While India lost their last series against South Africa, England convincingly won their series against New Zealand.

However, it would be helpful to remember that after the 2017 World Cup Final, India have played two ODI series against England and have won in both cases by 2-1. So while England will have the momentum on their side, India will look up to the history to boost themselves up. England have not included Danni Wyatt due to her lack of run in the international series, despite scoring 3 half-centuries in the RHF Trophy.

While this will give Lauren Winfield Hill another opportunity at the top of the order, Amy Jones will have t0 settle herself in the middle order along with Nat Sciver and Heather Knight. Before the India series, she has scored two centuries in 3 innings for Central Sparks in RHF Trophy will be a huge boost for the side. Her unbeaten 163 against the bowling attack of Western Storm only shows the kind of form she has been in recent times. 

In the last three years, while Tammy Beaumont has scored almost 992 runs with an average of 55, Amy Jones’s 7 half centuries in 19 innings was as crucial as anyone in the middle order. While England trusted the batter like Beaumont for a solid opening stand, it’s Amy Jones who gave them sustainability in the middle order. Beaumont has scored three half-centuries against New Zealand and would like to continue her form in India too.

It’s most likely that Winfield-Hill who go to chance to play ODI in two years at number 7 against New Zealand will open along with her if Amy Jones bat at number 5. England’s middle-order will be dependent on both Heather Knight and Natalie Sciver. Knight has scored runs 223 runs in Racheal Hey-hoe Flint Trophy while Natalie will like to continue her touch from where she left the innings against Australia. Both these players average more than 40s in the last three years.

Apart from handling the pacers both of them plays spin well, which is evident from the test match as well and has the ability to play long innings. Their use of the feet against the spinners will keep the Indian spinners at bay. While Knight has two half-centuries against New Zealand, Sciver too had one. Dunkley broke back into the England set-up during the five-match T20I series against West Indies last summer after an absence of 18 months and has started the Rachael Hey-hoe Flint Trophy strongly with scores of 104 not out, 0, and 92.

Her performance in the test should be enough for her place in the ODI. Sophia Dunkley who became the first black cricketer to play Test for England and hit a half-century in her debut test innings – can be a good option in the middle order. Dunkley’s call-up caps a successful week for her after she was awarded a central contract for 2021-22. There is a couple of contenders to fill the batting lineup for England. Both Fran Wilson and Georgia Elwiss have been given the chance in the lower middle order but none of them was impressive. In this case, two new names come in a frame.

England pace batteries comprised Anya Shrubsole, Katherin Brunt, and Kate Cross have seen the young faces like Freya Davis, Emily Arlott, and Natasha Farrant. Arlott has earned a maiden call-up to the England Women’s squad ahead of their Test against India after taking a hat-trick in domestic cricket last weekend. Brunt has picked up 9 wickets for Northern Diamonds while Arlott has 8 scalps in 3 outings. Sophie Ecclestone took 8 wickets in the test match and once again will be the go-to spinner for England. Sarah Glenn who was released to play RFH Trophy will join her too. Indian batting has to be more careful while dealing with these two spinners.

After her stellar performance in the Test match, Shafali Verma seems to have sealed the openers spot in the ODI as well. Her innings on both occasions showed that apart from her natural flamboyant role she can play sensibly as well.  Smriti Mandhana who has scored with an average of 59 in the last three years will try to forget the horrible outing in the last three innings against South Africa. Both Smriti Mandhana’s and Shafali Verma would look to give India a solid which India lacked in the South Africa series.

While Mithali Raj, who has completed her 22 years in International cricket look to continue a dominant run, Punam Raut the only silver inning for India in the last series seems to have found her place at number 3. Her strike rate was good too compared to her career strike rate in the last series as well. Now here lies a problem. Jemimah who had opened for India in most of her ODI career looked not in good touch for quite some time. It would be interesting to see how the new management deals with her. If Shafali plays as an opener she needs to find herself in the middle order. And in the middle order, India has Raut as a competitor.

Veteran Punam Raut was India’s highest run-getter through their home series against South Africa. The diminutive right-hander collected 263 runs in five innings at an average of 87.66, including a century and two fifties. Her runs came at an improved strike rate of over 71 – a big jump when compared to her career strike rate of 58.35. While Harmanpreet Kaur would like to get back in runs before the World Cup, Deepti would like to continue her touch from the test match, where she scored unbeaten 29 and 54 with a three-wicket haul.

A match-saving unbeaten 44 might have saved Taniya Bhatia’s career as a batter along with the unquestionable wicket-keeping skill, but India should give Indrani Roy a go. She had scored more than 400 runs in the last domestic season and with a far better strike rate than Bhatia. Her hitting abilities can fetch India some run in the lower order. Poonam Yadav has been India’s go-to spinner in the shorter format of the game.

The highest wicket-taker for India in the last couple of year Yadav did not have a good outing with the ball against South Africa. That was one of the reasons that India failed to pernitrate the South African middle-order in middle overs on the home turf. If India decides to go with only two specialist fast bowlers in from of Jhulan Goswami and Sikha Pandey then one spinner should be Poonam Yadav.

India need to decide on the other spinner. Sneh Ran’s performance has been well praised in the test match and she too has done well in the domestic season with 18 wickets. India could have to go with her to give more assurance in the lower order or they can go with their trusted left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht.

India Probable XI:

Mithali Raj (Captain), Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur (Vice-captain), Punam Raut/Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma,  Taniya Bhatia/ Indrani Roy (Wicket-keeper), Jhulan Goswami, Shikha Pandey, Poonam Yadav, Ekta Bisht/Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma

England Probable XI:

Heather Knight (Captain), Natalie Sciver (Vice-captain), Amy Jones (Wicket-keeper), Lauren Winfield-Hill, Sophia Dunkley, Tammy Beaumont, Georgia Elwiss, Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn, Katherin Brunt, Anya Shrubsole

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