Dharamsala - The wound of 3-0 whitewash in the recently concluded Test series will still be fresh as New Zealand take on hosts India in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) series.  With the change in format, Kiwis will be hoping for a change in their fortunes as well. On the other hand, India led by MS Dhoni will be looking to continue their domination over the visitors. The scenic Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala will host the series opener, and it will be a day-night encounter.

Just like the Test series, India starts as firm favourites, but the hosts will be without the services of key spinner Ravi Ashwin. The off-spinner was wrecker-in-chief in the Tests as he scalped 27 wickets and now has been rested for the ODI series. Kiwis will be happy to face the Indian side without Ashwin in it. However, Dhoni will have the likes of Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and newcomer Jayant Yadav in his ranks. Umesh Yadav remains the only bowler to find a place in both Test and ODI squads. He is likely to spear the attack with Jasprit Bumrah and Dhawal Kulkarni providing him vital support in the pace attack.

In the batting department, Ajinkya Rahane is likely to open with Rohit Sharma in Shikhar Dhawan’s absence. Virat Kohli will continue to bat at number three. Middle-order batsman Suresh Raina has been ruled out of the first ODI due to viral fever so Manish Pandey will take his responsibility. All-rounder Hardik Pandya also returns to the side, and Dhoni will possibly use him as the third seamer.

Kiwi camp will be boosted by the presence of Tim Southee as the visitors look for the first series win India. All-rounder Corey Anderson will also add his value to the New Zealand side and is very much likely to feature in the playing XI. Luke Ronchi is expected to keep wickets while BJ Watling will warm the bench. Kiwis have been impressive of late in limited-overs and will take a cue from their performance earlier this year in World T20 which was held in India. The Blackcaps defeated India in the opening game and then went on to qualify for the semi-final. Both the teams have faced each other 93 times previously in ODIs.

India leads the head to head record by a narrow margin of 46 wins while New Zealand have won 41 ODIs. Five games between these two sides produced no result while one match ended in a tie. While overall record in ODIs is neck to neck, when it comes to ODIs in India the home team’s domination is very much evident by the fact that they have lost only five matches against New Zealand. Out of 27 played, India have won 21 matches at home against Kiwis.

SQUADS:

INDIA: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Manish Pandey, Jayant Yadav, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Kedar Jhadav, Mandeep Singh, Amit Mishra, Dhawal Kulkarni, Umesh Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Suresh Raina.

NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (captian), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Doug Bracewell, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Tom Latham, Matt Henry, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper), Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Tim Southee.