After whitewashing Sri Lanka 3-0 in the Test series, all eyes turn to the ODIs where the No.3 ranked India hope to continue their dominance. While India have a relatively new-look side with some options for them to consider, the playing 11 for the first ODI is unlikely to see too many drastic changes.
While the emphasis from the selectors has been on fitness and the pathway towards the 2019 World Cup, the core group of players remain the same as the one that reached the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final. With plenty of options for captain Virat Kohli to consider, here is a look at India's probable playing 11 for the first ODI:
From being an outsider looking in towards the end of last year, Shikhar Dhawan has made the most of the opportunities that he has been presented with, across all formats. While he is creating a selection headache in the Test side with his imperious form, his place is assured in the ODI side. Even if Ajinkya Rahane finished the WI ODI series as the Man of the Series, he, unfortunately, won't have a place in the side, due to the return of Rohit Sharma and the success of Dhawan and Rohit.
After being rested for the WI series, Rohit Sharma will be raring to go against Sri Lanka, a side against whom he has a particularly good record. Ever since being promoted to open the innings, there are few sides against whom he doesn't have a good record but against the Sri Lankan bowling attack that already looks stretched due to injuries, Rohit will be licking his lips and raring to go. With the extra responsibility of being vice-captain as well, he will be keen to show that the added pressure won't affect his batting.
While the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma continue to provide invaluable contributions at the top of the innings, if there is one man the team relies on, it is Virat Kohli. And just over nine years after his international debut, there have been few occasions where Kohli hasn't had the team's back.
Given his lofty standards, Kohli will probably admit that he hasn't been amongst the runs in the last couple of months and that is something he will look to correct, against Sri Lanka.
With the omission of Yuvraj Singh, the one big question that was to be answered is the No.4 slot. However, the decision to try out KL Rahul at the position is one that now offers the Indian side plenty of flexibility. While the Karnataka batsman has only ever opened in ODIs, considering his recent form, it is unlikely that his batting position is going to determine the runs that he scores. And it is his good form that is likely to ensure that he gets the nod ahead of the in-form Manish Pandey.
At times, the older you get, the smaller things seem to make a big difference. Few years ago, no one dared question MS Dhoni's place in the side, but as the keeper is on the wrong side of his 30s, every bad innings has prompted questions surrounding his retirement. However, Dhoni has shown time and again that he has plenty left in the tank and as the first-choice keeper and Kohli's No.1 advisor, he still has a pivotal role to play in the side.
The biggest positive for India from the Champions Trophy, despite the fact that they stumbled at the last hurdle, was the fact that they found two genuine finishers who can finally take over the mantle from Dhoni. One of them is wicketkeeper batsman turned finisher-cum-off-spinning wizard extraordinaire Kedar Jadhav.
The pocket-sized dynamo of a batsman has been stunning since he returned to the Indian side in a new role. India will be hoping that he can keep that going for a while yet.
The other major positive is Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder from Baroda has simply taken to international cricket like a duck to water. Irrespective of the challenges that have been thrown at him, he has come through them all with flying colors. Whether it has been providing the final flourish with the bat, providing a crucial breakthrough with the ball or pulling off a sublime piece of effort in the field, Hardik has provided it all.
That and the fact that he is still incredibly young in his international career only bodes well for India and the future of the side across all formats.
With Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin being rested for the limited-overs leg of the Sri Lanka series, Kuldeep Yadav, at just 22 and with eight international matches to his credit will walk out as India's premier spinner for the ODI series. He has already gained the support of his captain, who has praised him for wanting to remain on the offensive throughout and look for wickets.
Now all he has to do is keep up the good work and continue bamboozling batsmen who still have no answer to the questions that he continues to pose.
Alongside him is Yuzvendra Chahal, who might only be nine games into his international career, but has been unlucky to not have found himself in the squad for either the Champions Trophy or the West Indies series after finishing with figures of 6/25 in his last T20I match, against England earlier this year.
However, he is back and should slot in as the second spinner ahead of Axar Patel. Wrist spinners are a rare commodity, especially good ones and that is why Chahal is likely to get the nod over Axar even if the latter is more of an all-rpund option.
While the likes of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav have been rested, Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn't and he is expected to continue as the side's premier fast bowler in the ODIs. As the highest-ranked Indian ODI bowler, Bhuvi will keen to add to his tally of wickets in 2017 and break into the top 10.
After being rested for the West Indies series, Bumrah will be chomping at the bit to get going against Sri Lanka. With the selectors showcasing an inclination towards rotating the side, the youngster will want to get a few wickets under his belt and ensure that his spot in the side is assured.