New Delhi, June 10: It will be a different sort of challenge for India's limited overs skipper MS Dhoni when he captains a new-look Indian cricket team against Zimbabwe in the first ODI of a short series starting at Harare on Saturday (June 11).
The second string squad of 15 comprises as many as five uncapped players (including KL Rahul, who is yet to make his limited-overs debut) who have been sent to test India's bench strength.
Apart from Rahul, there are a couple of more players who will be making their dream debut for Team India. Their performance against Zimbabwe will be under close watch of the selectors.
Here is a look at the uncapped players:
Yuzvendra Chahal: The leg-spinner from Haryana, whom Sunil Gavaskar termed as the best young talent from the IPL 9, will be leading India's spin department. The 25-year-old Royal Challengers Bangalore bowler was widely appreciated for his talent and temperament.
Chahal has a big leg break as well as an effective googly. He took 21 wickets from 13 matches to finish IPL-9 as second highest wicket taker behind pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 23 from 17 games.
Chahal's performance will also be closely monitored after a fantastic IPL as Amit Mishra has not exactly been favoured in the shorter versions. He would have a lot to prove under overseas conditions to make it to Team India.
Karun Nair: This Delhi Daredevils' batter will look to translate his decent IPL form into good scores in international games. The Karnataka opener has performed exceptionally well in the domestic circuit. He has scored 2,481 runs at 52.78 in First-Class games. Nair owns a reputation of playing big innings and one hopes lives up to his reputation in the ODI series.
Mandeep Singh: He has been touted as one of the emerging stars and would, perhaps, get a place in final XI of every match in Zimbabwe.
He may not have performed well in the IPL but his impressive record in domestic circuit and some good knocks in Ranji season gives him a chance to prove his potential in international arena.
Faiz Fazal: The 30-year-old left-handed batter has played 79 first-class matches and scored 5341 runs in the domestic circuit.
He came into prominence for his match-winning 127 against Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in the Irani Cup match this season, where Rest of India chased down a mammoth 480 in the fourth innings. Fazal scored 559 runs in the 2015-2016 Ranji season. Doing well is the only hope for the 30-year-old to get an India cap in future series.
Jayant Yadav: With his restrictive off-spin, he stands a better chance but will have to slog it out with seam bowling all-rounder Rishi Dhawan for a place in the XI.
Like others, he too has a decent record in domestic arena but wickets at Harare won't be as supportive as India's therefore he'll have to display his batting skills as well to get a place in the XI.
Apart from these uncapped players, performances of seamers Barinder Sran, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni; spinner Axar Patel and batters like Kedar Jhadav, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul will also be closely motinored.
Squads India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), KL Rahul, Faiz Fazal, Manish Pandey, Karun Nair, Ambati Rayudu, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Rishi Dhawan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Axar Patel.
Zimbabwe: Graeme Cremer (captain), Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Neville Madziva, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Wellington Masakadza, Peter Moor, Twanada Mupariwa, Richard Mutumbami (wk), Taurai Muzarabani, Vusimuzi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams.
Match starts 12:30 PM IST (LIVE on TEN Sports 2 TV)
2nd ODI on June 13 (Monday)