Lucknow: The fringe players will hope to stake their claim for next year's ODI World Cup when the three-match series against South Africa commences here on Thursday.
With top stars such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami and Ravichandran Ashwin getting ready for the T20 World Cup, the Indian selectors have gone for a rather inexperienced squad under veteran opener Shikar Dhawan. Medium-pacer Mukesh Kumar and swashbuckling batter Rajat Patidar have received their maiden call-ups.
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer, who is part of the reserves named for the T20 World Cup, will be Dhawan's deputy. Wicketkeeper-batters Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan too will be keen to make it count.
Swing bowler Deepak Chahar and young leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, the other players from the standby list, have also been included in the OD squad.
The elegant Shubman Gill, who has impressed in limited opportunities in ODIs, is likely to open with Dhawan.
Rahul Tripathi or Patidar is expected to make ODI debut in the opener.
Patidar has been rewarded for his consistent batting performances for Madhya Pradesh in domestic cricket and a sensational IPL 2022 for Royal Challengers Bangalore. He also smashed two centuries for India A against New Zealand A in the four-day games recently.
Ruturaj Gaikwad along with Sanju and Kishan are the other batters in the squad.
The spin department consists of Shahbaz Ahmed, Bishnoi and Kuldeep Yadav.
The pace department will be spearheaded by Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Chahar and Avesh Khan. New face Mukesh, a prolific red-ball bowler for Bengal, emerged as top wicket-taker in the first-class games against New Zealand A and produced a stellar show in the Irani Cup match against Saurashtra.
The squad features as many as six players who could potentially make their ODI debut.
The series provides a big opportunity to the second-string players to make their presence felt and impress the selectors to be in the race for a place in next year's World Cup.
But it will be a tough test for India as the South Africans will be playing for points which they need to qualify for the mega event next year.
The Proteas will be banking on the experienced Quinton de Kock, skipper Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Reeza Hendricks and Janneman Malan to do the job in the batting department.
They boast of a potent bowling unit, which includes the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, Kagiso Rabada, Dwaine Pretorious, spinner Tabraiz Shamsi among others.
It has been raining incessantly here and there is also prediction of heavy showers on Thursday.
The second ODI will be held in Ranchi on Sunday and the last match match will played in Delhi on Tuesday.
The teams (from): India: Shikhar Dhawan (capt), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubhman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Rajat Patidar, Rahul Tripathi, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shahbaz Ahmed, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Mukesh Kumar, Avesh Khan, Mohd. Siraj, Deepak Chahar.
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Wayne Parnell, A ndile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi.
Match starts at 1.30 pm
(With inputs from PTI)