India clash with hosts Zimbabwe in an ODI series in Harare from the 18th of August.
It’s a clash between the 3rd ranked and 13th ranked teams in the world.
Interestingly, it is happening just 2 months before the T20 World Cup.
This will give India a chance to observe a few players closely before selecting the final squad for the marquee tournament.
The series is also important for Zimbabwe as they are trying to get a direct entry to the 50-over World Cup in India next year.
India will be the obvious favourites though they are missing many of their leading stars.
Despite this, they can expect a strong fight against Zimbabwe who are coming off the back of two successive series wins against Bangladesh at home.
One of the players under the spotlight will be Deepak Hooda.
He had a fine IPL this season and also showed his prowess with the bat in the limited opportunities for India.
Hooda has scored 274 runs in seven T20I innings at a strike rate of 161.17 including an attacking hundred against Ireland. These are outstanding numbers.
This track record will make it hard for the selectors to exclude him from the Asia Cup squad too.
This series his also important for KL Rahul who last represented India in any format in February this year.
Despite scoring heavily in the IPL, questions are being raised about his fitness and lack of match practice as he has missed many India tours after the IPL.
Rahul has an average of 46.68 and strike rate of 88.61 in ODI cricket with five hundreds in 41 innings.
New-ball specialist, Deepak Chahar will also be making his first appearance for the India in over six months.
Chahar is known for his ability to swing and seam the white ball in the powerplay.
With injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, the Indian selectors might just want to keep Chahar, who is on standby for the Asia Cup, in the mix for the World Cup.
Shubman Gill and Prasidh Krishna will be two other Indian players to watch out for in the series.
Gill was the Player of the Series in the ODI leg in the Caribbean with scores of 64 (53 balls), 43 (49 balls) and 98 not out (98 balls) in the three matches.
Krishna has had a fine start for India in ODI cricket and his wicket-taking prowess stands out.
The lanky pacer has bagged 21 wickets in just 12 matches at a strike rate of 28.
India have won their last three bilateral ODI series.
They beat West Indies 3-0 at home before going to their shores and returning with the same scoreline. They also defeated England 2-1 in the latter’s own backyard.
India have won 19 and lost 4 of their 23 matches in Zimbabwe (vs Zimbabwe).
KL Rahul has an average of 56.62 and strike rate of 113.81 batting at number 5.
His numbers drop to 46.52 and 80.58 when he opens the innings for India in ODI cricket.
Shikhar Dhawan has failed in 4 of his last 7 ODI innings and has a strike rate of just 69.96 in these matches for India.
India Likely 11
Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Deepak Hooda, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav.