The upcoming India vs England ODI series is a crucial one as two powerhouse limited-overs sides face off. India have drawn first blood as they took the T20I series against England in but England will be keen on making a comeback in arguably their strongest format.

Who will win this series is anyone’s guess simply due to how evenly balanced the contest between both sides is – England are ranked 1st in ODI cricket and India are ranked 2nd. The series being played in England tilts the scales slightly in their favour but India’s fiery performance in the T20I series has shown that the home advantage may not make that much of a difference at all, especially in limited overs cricket where flatter pitches are the norm. The crowds are seemingly drowned in a sea of blue shirts so it does not feel too far from a home game for the Indians.

England’s trademark aggressive approach proved to be extremely fruitful against the Australians in their recently concluded ODI series, which they swept 5-0. Though they have recently lost the T20I series to India, England will take confidence from their performance against Australia and look to achieve a similar result in the upcoming series:

If India are to snatch the series from England however, these 7 players will be of paramount importance:

#1 Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli

Arguably one of the greatest ODI batsmen to play the game, Virat Kohli is a modern limited overs cricket legend. With the added captaincy duties, India will be looking for him to show up with sharp leadership decisions both on and off the field as well as amazing batting performances that we have now become accustomed to.

Historically, batting in English conditions has been a weakness for Kohli, however, his stats in England look promising and with the practice he has gotten thus far in the T20I series, he will be high on confidence.

#2 Rohit Sharma

Rohit sharma

Rohit Sharma was far from his destructive best in most of IPL 2018 and was scratchy in the first two T20Is against England. All that changed as he found form with a blistering century against them in the 3rd T20I in a steep chase of 199 in Bristol. Rohit’s return to form is a welcome sign for India and he will be looking to carry over this momentum into the ODI series.

There are few batsmen in world cricket that are as unstoppable as Rohit is when he is in form and striking it well, and his unprecedented 3 double centuries in ODIs are a testament to that. Will we see a fourth in this series?

#3 MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni has not had much of a chance to bat in the English tour thus far, but when he has gotten a chance to he has looked in great touch. He was India’s best batsman in the 2nd T20I, where a rare top order failure exposed the middle order. However, Dhoni and Kohli were able to arrest the slide and build a respectable total.

On the back of good IPL form and vintage ball striking, Dhoni’s batting looks promising for India and his role will likely be much more important in the ODI series as he will probably get a chance to face more deliveries. His wicketkeeping was excellent as always, as he notched up 5 catches and a run out against England in the 3rd T20I – a record he shares with Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad.

#4 KL Rahul

KL Rahul

In a matter of two years, a period in which he was battling multiple injuries, KL Rahul has gone from being the 98th ranked T20I batsman to the 2nd in the recently released ICC rankings. Rahul’s form of late both in the IPL and the T20Is against England and Ireland has been nothing short of astonishing.

There has been speculation about his position in the batting order as well. It remains to be seen if Rahul will bat at 3 or 4, but in ODIs, he will have more time to get himself set and then launch off a platform, a luxury that is often not afforded in T20Is. Rahul will be looking to make the most of this opportunity and cement his place in the Indian ODI team.

#5 Hardik Pandya

Hardik Pandya

What a series Hardik Pandya had against England in the T20Is and what a performance he put up in the deciding match to hand India the series. Over the 3 matches, Hardik picked up 7 wickets and scored 45 runs off 24 balls in the 2 innings he batted, without being dismissed. His confidence will be on a high going into the ODI series and he will be key for India.

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