Shikhar Dhawan walked on to the field as Team India’s captain for the first time during the the opening game of the ODI series against Sri Lanka. In doing so, he also broke a 34-year record  which was previously held by the 1983 World Cup winner Mohinder ‘Jimmy’ Amarnath.

“Shikhar Dhawan (35 years and 225 days) is now the oldest Indian to make ODI captaincy debut. Previous oldest was Mohinder Amarnath — 34 years 37 days vs Pakistan, Sialkot in 1984,” according to ESPN Cricinfo.

 

Dhawan lost the toss ahead of the game as the hosts chose to bat first under batter-friendly conditions in Colombo.

Dhawan’s maiden match as captain also coincided with ODI debuts for both wicketkeeper-batsman (and birthday boy) Ishan Kishan and Mumbai’s middle-order batsman Suryakumar Yadav. Both these players  had also made their T20I debuts in the same match, during the five-match series against England, in Ahmedabad, earlier this year.

Sanju Samson was ruled out of selection after spraining his knee.

Despite being called a ‘second-string side’, Team India’s playing XI in the first ODI still boasts the likes of Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshvar Kumar and Yuzvendra Chahal among other notable names. Kuldeep Yadav has also been given a lifeline under stand-in coach Rahul Dravid, while Prithvi Shaw and Manish Pandey can also stake their claims for spots in the squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup later this year.

 

Sri Lanka, too, are without some of their key players — Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella are out of the squad for various reasons.

The Lankans were whitewashed on their recent tour to England. They were unable to avoid defeat in all of the three ODIs and three T20Is.

 

Sri Lanka might however look at this weakened Indian side as an opportunity to pocket some crucial World Cup Super League points. The Super League is a brand new ODI competition, which will take place across two years. In its first edition, the Super League will help determine which teams feature in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 in India.

India, being the hosts of the next ODI World Cup are automatic qualifiers. The other 12 teams (11 ICC Full Members plus Netherlands) will vie for the remaining spots. The Dutch made it till here by winning the ICC World Cricket League Championship back in 2017.

Image credits: Twitter/BCCI