India are currently the No.1 ODI side in the world, as per ICC rankings. Virat Kohli, as captain, has won 30 of his last 38 matches. His team is blessed with a balance and bench strength that several seek but seldom find. The IPL experience and exposure has created an expanding nucleus of intrepid, quicksilver warriors who are unafraid of taking on any situation. Agreed, this team needs to prove its worth overseas, but from what evidence there is, the foundation seems to be strong.
There is a prolific opening pair in Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, a solid middle order led by the best batsman in contemporary cricket – Kohli – a lower middle order packed with fearless big-hitters with multiple-trophy winning MS Dhoni for guidance, and a tail that wags ever so often – mostly decisively.
India’s bowling appears to be in equally capable hands. Even without their two leading spinners – Ashwin and Jadeja – India pack a punch in the spin department with their second choices, and the fast bowling – as visiting captain Steve Smith himself acknowledged – is the best in the world, adept at hustling the best with pace. Additionally, the arrival of all-rounder Hardik Pandya has lent a critical equilibrium to the side.
The question is: is this the strongest Indian ODI team to take the field? Better than Kapil’s dibbly-dobbly devils, Ganguly’s plucky warriors or even Dhoni’s own world-beating eleven?